Black fungus spread due to ‘irrational’ use of steroids, says Niti Aayog member

Dr VK Paul says health professionals must ensure patients are given proper doses and at the right time for steroids to be effective

When doses are given in an irrational manner, steroids start having a negative impact - Dr VK Paul

At a press briefing on the country’s COVID-19 situation on Saturday, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog, said steroids played a role in spreading the infection among COVID-19 survivors.

“Steroids are wonder drugs that help save lives. But administering them to COVID-19 patients before the appropriate time, giving unnecessarily high doses, administering it without its need, and continuing their use for undue time are not part of their appropriate and rational use in treatment of COVID-19 patients,” Dr Paul said.

He added that health professionals must ensure that patients are given proper doses and at the right time for steroids to be effective against COVID-19.

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“When doses are given in an irrational manner, steroids start having a negative impact instead of helping the patient. One of these negative impacts is being seen in the form of black fungus. Such use of steroids can also complicate existing diabetes,” Dr Paul said.

So should health professionals stop administering steroids to patients?

Health professionals must continue using steroids, but to save lives, Dr Paul said. “They are a wonder drug and help overcome complications. But their irrational use is pushing us towards black fungus,” he said.

Dr Paul said the government has taken measures to ensure availability of medicines used to treat the disease.

“States have been asked to make it a notifiable disease and efforts are on to curtail the risk.”

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