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President prescribed steroid, doctor says could cause more harm than good

Steroids confirmed to help severely ill coronavirus patients
Posted at 7:41 PM, Oct 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-04 23:28:21-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Sunday, doctors revealed President Donald Trump is taking a steroid, called Dexamethasone, as the latest medication for his coronavirus treatment.

"We just don't know what's going to happen next, things are very unpredictable," Dr. Christian Ramers, Chief of Population Health at Family Health Centers, said.

Ramers has seen thousands of COVID-19 patients and says the disease has two phases, virus production and inflammatory. He said the shift generally happens seven to ten days in.

"Once things kind of shift, the damage actually comes more from the immune system's response than the virus itself," Ramers said, which is why a steroid like Dexamethasone is prescribed.

"Where it showed a decrease in mortality was in people who already required oxygen or if they were even sicker than that and were on ventilation," said Ramers, citing a study.

Sunday, doctors stated the president received oxygen Friday before being taken to Walter Reed Medical Center, but said his oxygen levels only dipped to 94% and 93%. Normal levels are 95% and above.

Ramers said studies show if you give the steroid too early or to someone who has a mild case, it could cause harm.

"If you dial down the immune system too early or in a case that is really mild, you might have the opposite effect you're looking for," Ramers said.

There's also a list of side effects.

"If you use them for a chronic basis or for more than a couple of days there is a long list of things it can cause. They can make your bones thinner, it can give you high blood sugar, diabetes, it can make people have trouble sleeping," Ramers said.

With the president, as in any case, Ramers said we need to keep watching, "watching very carefully to what's happening day by day, it's going to be very important especially in this 7-10 day period because things could take a turn at any moment."

Ramers said there are experimental coronavirus drug trials coming to San Diego, click here for more information or to sign up.