From a Common, Generic Drug to a COVID-19 “Major Breakthrough”
Many common ocular conditions, including herpes zoster (shingles), eye inflammation of any cause, chemical injury or trauma, and allergies may be treated by an ophthalmologist with a steroid (or more properly “corticosteroid”) medication. Think ‘cortisone’ or related products like prednisone or dexamethasone. Our doctors prescribe these medications on a daily basis, most commonly for post-operative inflammation after any eye surgery. These generic medications are also used in the treatment of many other health conditions, including asthma, COPD, autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, etc.), and much more.
Caution First –
At West Georgia Eye Care Center our physicians are cautious when choosing corticosteroid treatments for patients because of potential side effects. Conscientious care includes follow-up visit, and patients should be mindful of dosage and duration instructions. When managed appropriately, steroids can be a useful treatment option with benefits that far outweigh the risks.
Dexamethasone Trial –
Most recently, dexamethasone has been called a potential “major breakthrough” in the treatment of severe COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. It should be noted that as of this date, remdesivir is the only US FDA approved medication for severe COVID-19. On June 16th a United Kingdom clinical trial named “RECOVERY” released data which shows that the use of dexamethasone can reduce the risk of death among patients with severe COVID-19 who are on oxygen(reduced risk by 20%) and mechanical ventilation(reduced risk by 35%). The drug works by reducing the body’s over-active immune response to the viral illness, similar to how it is used to reduce inflammation in many other illnesses. The scientist leading the study reportedly went so far as to suggest that it should become the standard of care for hospitalized patients.
Keeping Hope –
There has been a collective hope across the globe for tested and proven treatment(s) for this disease. Perhaps a generic, inexpensive, and common drug that is frequently used to treat ocular and general medical ailments will prove to be a part of that “major breakthrough”.
We continue to hope!