Early Use of Inhaled Budesonide Reduces COVID Urgent Medical Care

A study by Oxford University, UK found that Inhalation of budesonide, a common corticosteroid, is the first widely available, inexpensive drug found to shorten recovery times in COVID-19 patients aged over 50 who are treated at home and in other community settings, in 1,779 participants.

Another study by published by The Lancet, UK says that early administration of inhaled budesonide reduced the likelihood of needing urgent medical care and reduced time to recovery after early COVID-19. In the Lancet study, patients received a budesonide dry powder inhaler at a dose of 800 μg twice a day.

Joint Chief Investigator, Professor Chris Butler, a South Wales GP and Professor of Primary Care from the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said, ‘PRINCIPLE, the world’s largest platform trial of community-based treatments for COVID-19, has found evidence that a relatively cheap, widely available drug with very few side effects helps people at higher risk of worse outcomes from COVID-19 recover quicker, stay better once they feel recovered, and improves their wellbeing.

Dr Sundeep Salvi, chair at the chronic respiratory diseases section for the Global Burden of Disease Study for India, (who is not attached with the Lancet study) told that the study results have come as a pleasant surprise as an asthma drug can help alleviate some of the suffering of Covid-19 patients.

The study results showed that inhaled budesonide significantly reduced the risk of urgent care visit, emergency department assessment or hospitalisation versus the usual care arm by 91 percent. Study showed that inhaled budesonide reduced the time to recovery by a median of three days in people with Covid-19 with risk factors for adverse outcomes.

Joint Chief Investigator, Professor Richard Hobbs, Head of Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said, ‘For the first time we have high-quality evidence of an effective treatment that can be rolled out across the community for people who are at most risk of developing more severe illness from COVID-19. Unlike other proven treatments, budesonide is effective as a treatment at home and during the early stages of the illness. This is a significant milestone for this pandemic and a major achievement for community-based research.’

The Oxford study was funded by Oxford University & UK government and Lancet study was funded by UK government & AstraZeneca.

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