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Study Shows Corticosteroids Helps COVID Patients

Success with steroid treatments within the most serious COVID-19 patients.
The international study, led by UPMC and also the University of Pittsburgh School of medication, found that steroid treatments can help critically ill COVID-19 patients pick up, a trend healthcare officials say they’re seeing in most hospitalized COVID patients.
The study’s findings covered the REMAP-CAP (Randomized, Embedded, Multi-factorial, Adaptive Platform-Community Acquired Pneumonia) trial that tested corticosteroids in COVID-19 patients. REMAP-CAP includes the UPMC-REMAP-COVID19 trial, which fast tracks the identification of potential therapies for COVID-19.
REMAP tests multiple treatment options for COVID-19 patients without delay.
Between March and June, the REMAP-CAP corticosteroid trial randomized 403 adult COVID-19 medical care patients to receive the steroid hydrocortisone or no steroids in the least.
The trial found a 93 percent probability that giving patients a seven-day intravenous course of hydrocortisone resulted in better outcomes than not giving the steroid. The results were consistent across age, race and sex.
The trial showed improvement in mortality for critically ill patients, said Dr. Derek Angus, UPMC chief healthcare innovation officer and chair of critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
“A commonly available, inexpensive class of medicine called corticosteroids, we’ve got found considerably reduces the percentages of adverse outcome, death, and duration of life support in critically ill COVID-19 patients,” Angus said.
During the trial, corticosteroids were tested in 121 hospitals in 8 countries around the world.
“We have absolutely been able to generate robust, actionable information at the speed required to reply efficiently during this epidemic,” Angus said. “In this trial, when someone in Amsterdam agrees to be enrolled within the trial, they then produce data that may help us treat someone in Altoona.”
That significant improvement could be a trend healthcare officials are seeing in non-critically ill patients, too.
Dr. Oscar Marroquin, UPMC chief health care data and analytics officer, said patients are becoming better faster and hospital mortality rates are trending down.
“Daily hospitalized patients with COVID-19 since July is approximately 2.8 times more than within the spring, but daily discharges are thrice higher,” said Marroquin. “Discharges are outpacing our hospitalization rates. Patients have gotten better and they are recovering faster than before.”
Patients are likely recuperating for several reasons, Marroquin said.
“We think a part of the solution lies within the way we’ve changed our take care of these patients, as we’ve learned more about this previously unknown disease,” he said.
“The masks matter,” Yealy said. “It is that the single biggest step (we can take). It’s simple.”
Another reason is from social distancing and mask-wearing, which Dr. Donald Yealy, UPMC senior medical director and chair of the Department of Medicine at UPMC and also the University of Pittsburgh, said is important.
A version of this article was originally published on
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