On Wednesday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan advised people doctors and healthcare professionals to refrain from excessive use of steroids to treat COVID-19 patients to prevent side effects and complications such as black fungus.
After inspecting the newly installed Oxygen plant and reviewing Coronavirus preparedness at the Safdarjung Hospital, during a meeting with doctors, Dr Vardhan said, “People are taking heavy doses of steroids even when they have not turned hypoxic. Steroids are to be provided only when a patient is hypoxic, to be administered in small doses to prevent side effects and not more than a few days at a stretch. Recommendations of a doctor are must for the use of these medicines.”
These steps should take care of the occurrence of the higher number of Mucormycosis or black fungus infections being reported country-wide, he hoped.
The Minister said there is a wrong notion that taking steroids will help patients recover quickly. “We should know when to use steroids and when not. In the context of black fungus, AIIMS, ICMR and the health ministry have come out with proper guidelines and we should provide proper treatment,” he told the doctors. Vardhan assured that the government is ensuring ramped up production of medicines to treat black fungus – a disease that affects mainly diabetic patients who were given a large number of steroids during COVID-19 treatment.
In recent days, India has witnessed a huge spike in Mucormycosis infection among COVID-19 survivors with multiple states reporting over 100 cases each day. The disease, which is also difficult to treat has claimed the lives of many patients in the country. On Wednesday, the Centre engaged with pharmaceutical manufacturers to ramp up production of Amphotericin B which was being prescribed by most physicians to treat black fungus. The Centre stated that the supply position is expected to improve with extra imports and increase domestic production. Moreover, on reviewing the demand pattern for Amphotericin, the Centre's Department of Pharma has allocated the drug to states/UT from May 10 to May 31.
On a positive note, the number of Coronavirus recoveries have now outnumbered the new cases for the sixth consecutive day, leading o a reduction in active caseload in India, said Dr Vardhan on Wednesday. He asked people to bring down the infections further by following COVID appropriate behaviour. The total