expert reaction to preprint on the effect of dexamethasone in hospitalised patients with COVID-19


A preprint, an unpublished non-peer reviewed study posted to MedRxiv, has looked at the effect of dexamethasone in hospitalised patients with COVID-19.


Prof Robin Ferner, Honorary Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Birmingham & Honorary Consultant Physician, City Hospital Birmingham, said:

“This is a positive outcome for patients severely ill with COVID-19.  The detailed results of the RECOVERY trial confirm that dexamethasone saves lives when given to seriously ill hospitalized patients.  But patients with mild disease (not needing oxygen) were perhaps more likely to die if they were given dexamethasone, although this result did not reach statistical significance.  So dexamethasone works in patients in hospital who need help with breathing, but should not be given to those with mild disease.”



Preprint (not a paper): ‘Effect of Dexamethasone in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19: Preliminary Report’ by Peter Horby et al.  This work is not peer-reviewed.


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Declared interests

Prof Robin Ferner: “No conflicts.”