One of the physicians treating President Trump, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, said Sunday the President is being given the steroid drug dexamethasone as part of his Covid-19 treatment.
It's an indication that Trump's condition is worrying, as the drug should not be given to anyone who is not ill enough to justify the downsides of taking steroids -- including that it suppresses the immune system.
"We decided that in this case the potential benefits, early on in the course, probably outweighed the risks at this time," White House physician Dr. Sean Conley told reporters outside Walter Reed medical center Sunday.
Some more background on this drug: At least one large, randomized study has shown coronavirus patients do better if they are given dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available corticosteroid drug that tamps down dangerous inflammation.
The National Institutes of Health says in its guidelines on treating coronavirus infections that "patients with severe Covid-19 can develop a systemic (all-of-body) inflammatory response that can lead to lung injury and multisystem organ dysfunction." Based on the results of the one trial, the NIH panel of experts recommended giving dexamethasone to Covid-19 patients who need oxygen.
"The panel recommends against using dexamethasone for the treatment of Covid-19 in patients who do not require supplemental oxygen," the NIH guidelines read.
In the study on dexamethasone, which was conducted in Britain, about 23% of patients who got dexamethasone died, compared to about 26% of those who did not.
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