This is everything we know about Dexamethasone: the drug they gave President Trump

Since news of President Trump’s positive COVID-19 test shook the nation even more concerning are the sparse details made available to the American public surrounding his present condition. The president of the United States, who is already considered high-risk for COVID-19 complications, is undergoing an extreme cocktail of experimental steroids and viral treatments. One such steroid is called dexamethasone. Here’s what we know about this drug so far from a brief released by The Cut Monday afternoon.

What is Dexamethasone?

“Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid hormone that decreases the body’s natural immune response and reduces swelling and allergic-reaction symptoms. This medication treats a number of conditions, including asthma, IBS, Crohn’s disease, and a number of lymphomas. It is used to treat Covid-19 because serious cases can provoke an exaggerated immune response, releasing a large number of pro-inflammatory cytokines known as a ‘cytokine storm’” – Katie Heaney,senior writer at The Cut

If a viral cocktail including dexamethasone is in use this means the president’s condition is worse than his physicians are willing to release publicly. However, transparency in our nation’s leaders’ health is necessary to decide if he’s fit to carry out important executive orders. The following statement released in an article from Newsweek raises cause for concern about Trump’s worsening condition.

Vin Gupta, an affiliate assistant professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, tweeted on Sunday that doctors would not generally prescribe an experimental antibody cocktail, Remdesivir and dexamethasone to a patient who had drops in their oxygen levels unless there’s COVID Pneumonia.

He elaborates further, echoing the growing concerns and questions from our nation,

What did his chest imaging show? The American people deserve basic information on their President.”

Clinical Trials where Dexamethasone has proved effective in fighting adverse effects created by SARS-Cov-2 infection

Dexamethasone was first used as a potential therapy to aid patients experiencing severe symptoms related to COVID-19. This trial was conducted at The University of Oxford from the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 therapy testing whether medicines already available to the public can be effective in combating this deadly condition. Here’s the trial found in more detail here.

“About 2,100 patients received a 6mg daily dose of dexamethasone in the trial for 10 days. Their progress was compared with a random sample of just over 4,300 patients who received no additional treatment,” the trail found, “Scientists hope dexamethasone could eventually be used as part of a suite of drugs which, together, could reduce deaths even further. It is now recommended for adults, not including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

According to the scientists who carried out the trials, one in three deaths could be prevented among patients on ventilators.

For patients on oxygen, it could prevent one death in five.

There was no significant benefit for patients who were not receiving respiratory support.”

While this is great news for folks experiencing severe complications from COVID-19 or damaging RNA mutations of the virus, (such as patients requiring oxygen or a ventilator,) we still need advanced treatment for those with milder symptoms. Why is this the case? Katie Heaney, the author mentioned earlier, explains why.

“The very function of dexamethasone that makes it helpful in treating serious Covid-19 cases also makes it risky for more mild cases. The immune system’s response to Covid-19 is enormously important, and because dexamethasone suppresses the immune response, it might only increase the patient’s risk of becoming seriously ill. It is not recommended for patients not on oxygen support; patients who haven’t received oxygen who were given dexamethasone actually died at a slightly higher rate (though not a statistically significant one).”

If you have a healthy immune system and high T cell count you’re one of the lucky groups who naturally fare better against fighting this virus. Do not use this treatment for mild cases! A simple blood test can give you answers on whether or not it’s time to take further action in treatment options.

Other concerning side effects of this steroid

Unfortunately, drastic treatment often results in potentially serious side effects. It’s important to only take extreme measures if absolutely vital to decrease your chances of serious illness or death.

“Notably, the drug can negatively impact a patient’s mental state, leading to anxiety, irritability, depression, and changes to mood, including mania. It can also cause difficulty in talking, walking, and thinking. Blurred vision, irregular heartbeat, headaches, numbness in the limbs, and pounding in the ears are also common symptoms.

In rare but reported cases, dexamethasone has also been linked to grandiose delusions and psychosis.”

Only once your oxygen levels have dropped dangerously below 94 percent should you resort to this vigorous treatment to suppress an overblown immune response that could lead to serious complications and death.