SA pharmacists caution on use of dexamethasone to prevent COVID-19

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The Independent Community Pharmacy Association has raised alarm over the use of dexamethasone to prevent COVID-19, reports Eyewitness News.

Use of the steroid has been hailed as a breakthrough in the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients being treated in ICU – Oxford University's randomised recovery trial recently found the drug saves one in three patients on ventilators.

Dexamethasone is used to treat diseases caused by an overactive immune response such as allergies, asthma and other autoimmune diseases. And the report says it's now proven to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 patients receiving oxygen therapy and those on ventilators.

However, Independent Community Pharmacy Association CEO, Jacky Maimin, warns against people buying dexamethasone to try to protect themselves against contracting COVID-19.

“It cannot be used to prevent COVID-19, in fact, it can have the opposite effect because it tempers down your immune system, it reduces inflammation and your immune response. It’s the worst thing you can do if you’re trying to prevent yourself from the virus.”

Full Eyewitness News report

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