The Harrowing Side Effects of Trump's COVID Treatment
President Donald Trump has been administered dexamethasone, a steroid with serious side effects.
With the news that President Donald Trump has contracted coronavirus, along with several members of his inner circle, there has been intense media focus on how he is being treated for the virus. One drug in particular has jumped out at health experts: dexamethasone, a powerful steroid that is generally reserved for severe COVID cases. While some have expressed concern that the drug could reflect a more serious illness than the White House has acknowledged, others have noted that dexamethasone can cause dangerous side effects. Read on to find out more about potential complications, and for more on the president's recovery, These Are All the COVID Treatments Trump Has Tried.
As reported by The New York Times, the physicians treating Trump at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said they began administering dexamethasone on Oct. 3. The steroid is used to suppress an immune system reaction that has proven fatal to many COVID patients: In an attempt to fight off the virus, the immune system can actually attack the body's organs in what's known as a cytokine storm.
Dexamethasone can prevent the immune system from going into overdrive, but the steroid is generally only used in patients with severe cases of coronavirus, in part because of the harrowing side effects it can cause. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of corticosteroids like dexamethasone only in "severe and critical COVID-19."
Steroids have numerous well-documented side effects, many of which are physical. And it can backfire in the treatment of coronavirus, as Daniel Davis, PhD, a professor of immunology at the University of Manchester, told Newsweek. Dexamethasone "is probably only really appropriate in treating people with severe symptoms of COVID-19," he told the magazine, because it can also suppress the necessary immune response that helps destroy the virus.
Beyond that, however, there are also neurological side effects that are particularly troubling. "The thing about steroids is they can have psychiatric side effects at almost any dose," J. Michael Bostwick, MD, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic, told The New York Times. "It is necessary to notice if the use of these drugs causes changes in mood or thinking or sleep."
One of the most troubling side effects in the president's case, especially as he is discharged from the hospital, is that the steroid can make the patient look and feel healthier than they are. Dexamethasone can induce a feeling of euphoria, which some health experts worry could make a COVID patient feel fully recovered, even if they are still battling the virus.
Of course, that's just one of the potential complications that doctors have sounded the alarm on. Many of these side effects are rare, but all have been documented in patients taking the drug. Keep reading to find out what other side effects of dexamethasone Trump could experience, as reported by Newsweek, The New York Times, and WebMD. And for more expert perspective on the president's treatment, This Is What Dr. Fauci Thinks About Trump's COVID Treatment.
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