Corticosteroid abuse prolongs the disease


Doctor (BS) Dieu Ha Lam, Head of the Intensive Care Unit at the No 3 field hospital for Covid-19 treatment (Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City), said that improper use of corticosteroids will cause Covid-19 status. -19 lasts maybe 1-2 months, still not negative.

Increased risk of infection

Dr. Ton Thanh Tung, Deputy Head of Emergency Department of Military Medical Hospital 175 (HCMC), said that at the Covid-19 Treatment Center of Military Hospital 175 since the city ended the distance, the number of F0 hospitalized for treatment. tends to increase, especially in recent days, F0 increased 3-4 times compared to the end of October. Most of the patients admitted to the hospital in the state of hypoxia in the blood must breathe oxygen, patients with underlying diseases. Besides, there are young patients with mild symptoms but because they are not eligible for isolation at home, they have to be hospitalized.

According to Dr. Tung, although F0 at the moment tends to increase slightly, it is not too worrying compared to the previous peak of the epidemic. Most of the hospital admissions are elderly patients, have underlying medical conditions, have not been fully vaccinated (just had 1st dose), only a few of these cases have serious development.

Covid-19 patients are treated at the Covid-19 Treatment Center, 175 Military Hospital (HCMC). (Photo provided by the hospital)

Notably, the cases of patients with severe changes such as increased risk of infection, weakened immunity, decreased ability to resist the virus were caused by the previous use of corticosteroids at home.

“When using corticosteroids at the wrong dose, it will reduce the body’s immune response to bacteria. In overweight, elderly people with respiratory failure, the risk of complications is high. and progressed rapidly and unpredictably,” noted Dr. Tung.

Dr. Tung advises: Patients with F0 self-care at home should not arbitrarily use drugs without a doctor’s prescription. Currently, there are many channels for consulting and taking care of F0 at home, patients can call the doctor for an online examination or call the switchboard of Military Medical Hospital 175 for specific advice and instructions to avoid accidents. unfortunate cases because of self-treatment.

Dr. Le Ba Kong – Head of the Medical Station of Binh Chieu Ward, Thu Duc City – said that many F0 cases are isolated and treated at home, when examining medical staff, they found that patients were spreading word of mouth voluntarily. using drugs (especially corticosteroids) without a doctor’s prescription. Through monitoring, it was found that many cases of abuse of corticosteroids at home made the disease worse when hospitalized, requiring measures such as mechanical ventilation, dialysis, even running ECMO.

Viruses last longer

According to Dr. Dieu Ha Lam, corticosteroids are drugs that reduce inflammation in the body but also reduce the activity of the immune system. Corticosteroids are often used in clinical treatment of diseases such as allergies, itching, redness, kidney failure, lupus, asthma, arthritis, etc., often quickly reducing symptoms, so it is the cause that many people abuse. corticosteroid use. Besides, drugs are easy to buy and cheap, so self-administration is also difficult to control.

Corticosteroids are hormonal drugs, used for a long time in the body, they will get used to them, so they are easy to become addicted. Besides the quick relief of symptoms, the drug also has many side effects such as causing water retention, salt retention, and confusion. sugar metabolism, osteoporosis, peptic ulcer, gastrointestinal bleeding…

Dr. Ha Lam said that the F0 with fever, cough, runny nose, headache … is not the time to use corticosteroids. The drug is only used for patients with respiratory failure, with a decrease in blood oxygen concentration (Sp02) from 93% or less. Corticosteroids have been tested on patients hospitalized with Covid-19 and have shown beneficial results when the patient is seriously ill. For patients requiring mechanical ventilation, the treatment has been shown to reduce mortality. Although corticosteroids are beneficial for patients with severe Covid-19 (requiring mechanical ventilation, oxygen), it does not mean that they can be used at any stage.

“For Covid-19 patients, usually 7-10 days after treatment, the patient will be negative. However, when using corticosteroids improperly, the virus will last longer because this is an immunosuppressive drug. Many cases have used corticosteroids at the wrong stage, causing the Covid-19 situation to last for 1-2 months but still can’t be negative,” – Dr. Ha Lam recommended.

In Ho Chi Minh City, when F0 is treated at home, ABC medicine bags will be distributed to use depending on the patient’s symptoms. In which, drug bag B is an anti-inflammatory drug containing corticosteroids and anticoagulants, enough for 3 days. These are special drugs, so it’s best to consult a doctor when using them.



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