DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire



The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday warned the public against the unregulated use of dexamethasone, a steroid found to have improved the survival of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in England.

In a Covid-19 virtual presser, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said dexamethasone is a type of steroid medication indicated in the treatment of different conditions such as severe allergies, preterm labor, and as an adjunct in certain chemotherapy regimens.

“Mariin namin pinaaalahanan ang publiko na hindi po tayo dapat pumunta agad-agad sa mga botika para bumili nito. Mariin din po naming pinapaalala sa lahat na ang gamot na ito ay hindi tine-take without the supervision of a doctor lalo na nga po kagaya ng ibang gamot, mayroon itong side effects kapag mali ang gamit nito (We strongly urge the public not to rush to the drugstores and buy this drug. We strongly remind the public that this drug must not be taken without the supervision of a doctor as its wrong use results in side effects),” Vergeire added.

While its use may be considered as a breakthrough in science, the study on dexamethasone as a cure for Covid-19 is yet to be reviewed.

Earlier, researchers from England reported that deaths among severely ill Covid-19 patients on mechanical ventilation have decreased by one-third with the inclusion of dexamethasone in their treatment and deaths among patients receiving oxygen by one-fifth.

“Kaya kung inyo pong babalikan ang balita ukol dito, hindi po sinabi na ang dexamethasone ay gamot sa (If you’ll review the news on this, dexamethasone is not said to cure) Covid-19. Dexamethasone has only been given to patients who are critically hospitalized, those who are already intubated and supported by a ventilator, or those who require oxygen therapy,” Vergeire said.

Vergeire urged the public not to buy or hoard it “in the hope of self-medicating or taking it as prophylaxis”.

“There is still no prophylaxis nor vaccine for Covid-19, and the most effective way to protect ourselves is by continuing to practice regular hand washing, wearing of masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment, practicing cough etiquette, and physical distancing,” she added. (PNA)