MANILA – Health authorities clarified that the steroid drug dexamethasone is not a “miracle pill” for the treatment of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Saturday the use of the drug without proper prescription from a licensed physician may cause some adverse effects on one’s health.
“Kasi baka isipin po ng ating mga kababayan na magic pill ito, na kapag ininom natin ito ay hindi na tayo magkakaroon ng Covid-19 o di kaya mapi-prevent nito na mahawa tayo. Hindi po totoo iyon (Our people might think this is a magic pill, that we will no longer acquire Covid-19 once we take this drug or it will prevent us from being infected. That is not true),” Vergiere said in a virtual presser.
She said the dexamethasone drug is not a cure for Covid-19 and is only used to “support the treatment” of the disease.
Vergeire added that the drug is used only inside the hospital, citing the article that the dexamethasone was used to treat severe and critical patients who needed oxygen during hospitalization.
The DOH raised alarm over reports that the drug dexamethasone is being sold online.
“Marami po kaming ulat na natanggap na ito ay binebenta sa social media at sa mga online platforms. Pinapaalalahanan po natin ang publiko na ito ay pinagbabawal (we have received many reports that it is being sold on social media and online platforms. We are reminding the public that this is prohibited),” Vergeire said.
She warned the public against the unregulated use of dexamethasone without proper medical prescription and doctor’s advice.
Vergeire urged the public not to purchase the drug in any social media outlet and other online platforms.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also issued an advisory Friday that the dexamethasone should be strictly used under the supervision of a licensed physician.
“The drug should be only dispensed by licensed establishments to patients with valid prescriptions. The sale of unregistered dexamethasone or sale of the drug without a valid prescription or through online platforms is strictly prohibited,” the FDA advisory stated.
FDA warned that the misuse or unsupervised chronic use of the steroid drug may lead to serious adverse reactions which include: immunosuppression or impairment of the body’s ability to fight infections; gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers; electrolyte imbalance; osteoporosis; muscle weakness; poor wound healing; prolonged use of the drug may cause suppression of growth among infants and children; and obesity.
“If stopped abruptly, it may cause withdrawal symptoms such as hypotension, shock and coma,” the FDA added.
The FDA called on the public to report dispense or use of the steroid drug without valid prescription via email to email@example.com, “for any observed adverse reactions with the use of the drug, seek medical attention immediately and report to the FDA”. (PNA)