A trial launched in March 2020 has released its results, finding that Dexamethasone reduced deaths of ventilated COVID-19 patients by one-third.
The RECOVERY trial was established as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, including low-dose steroid treatment Dexamethasone.
Over 11,500 patients have been enrolled from over 175 National Health Service ( NHS ) hospitals in the UK.
On 8 June, recruitment to the Dexamethasone arm was halted since, in the view of the trial Steering Committee, sufficient patients had been enrolled to establish whether or not the drug had a meaningful benefit.
A total of 2,104 patients were randomised to receive 6 mg Dexamethasone once per day ( either by mouth or by intravenous injection ) for 10 days and were compared with 4,321 patients randomised to usual care alone.
Among the patients who received usual care alone, 28-day mortality was highest in those who required ventilation ( 41% ), intermediate in those patients who required oxygen only ( 25% ) and lowest among those who did not require any respiratory intervention ( 13% ).
The trial revealed that Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.
There was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support.
The researchers have concluded that based on these results, one death could be prevented by treatment of around eight ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone.
According to Peter Horby, University of Oxford, Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19.
The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment. ( Xagena )
Source: University of Oxford, 2020