Steroids used in early stages of COVID-19 diagnosis could prevent need for ventilator, Henry Ford study says

Posted at 8:05 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 20:05:51-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A new research study from researchers at Henry Ford Health System shows that the use of corticosteroids to treat COVID-19 patients proved promising.

The study took place during the early spread of the virus, back in March.

The study was published in May 2020 in Clinical Infectious Disease. Henry Ford medical experts found that the early use of methylprednisolone, or Medrol, prevented more patients from being admitted to ICU, being intubated and put on a ventilator and dying, a release states.

“We found that use of methylprednisolone early in hospitalization can beneficially affect the body’s immune reaction and systemic inflammatory responses – the cytokine storm – in COVID-19,” said study author Dr. Mayur Ramesh, Senior Staff Physician in the Henry Ford Health System Division of Infectious Disease at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

The drug is FDA-approved, and is usually used to decrease immune response that results in swelling, pain and allergic-type reactions. It's commonly used as a treatment for blood disorders, arthritis, allergic reactions, and other immune system disorders.

The Detroit study researchers pointed out that three days of early corticosteroids were administered to patients two days into their hospitalization and eight days from symptom onset. However, the administration of a three-day course of corticosteroids later in the disease – 5 days after hospitalization – did not appear to produce the same benefit, a release states.

“It seems to be crucial for patients with COVID-19 symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, to receive corticosteroid early in hospitalization to prevent ICU admission and death,” Dr. Ramesh added.

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