School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Intranasal Versus Intravenous Dexamethasone to Treat Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients: A Randomized Multicenter Clinical Trial

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Background: SARS-CoV2 induces flu-like symptoms that can rapidly progress to severe acute lung injury and even death. The virus also invades the central nervous system (CNS), causing neuroinflammation and death from central failure. Intravenous (IV) or oral dexamethasone (DXM) reduced 28 d mortality in patients who required supplemental oxygen compared to those who received conventional care alone. Through these routes, DMX fails to reach therapeutic levels in the CNS. In contrast, the intranasal (IN) route produces therapeutic levels of DXM in the CNS, even at low doses, with similar systemic bioavailability.

Aims: To compare IN vs. IV DXM treatment in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Methods: A controlled, multicenter, open-label trial. Patients with COVID-19 (69) were randomly assigned to receive IN-DXM (0.12 mg/kg for three days, followed by 0.6 mg/kg for up to seven days) or IV-DXM (6 mg/d for 10 d). The primary outcome was clinical improvement, as defined by the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) ordinal scale. The secondary outcome was death at 28 d between IV and IN patients. Effects of both treatments on biochemical and immunoinflammatory profiles were also recorded.

Results: Initially, no significant differences in clinical severity, biometrics, and immunoinflammatory parameters were found between both groups. The NEWS-2 score was reduced, in 23 IN-DXM treated patients, with no significant variations in the 46 IV-DXM treated ones. Ten IV-DXM-treated patients and only one IN-DXM patient died.

Conclusions: IN-DMX reduced NEWS-2 and mortality more efficiently than IV-DXM, suggesting that IN is a more efficient route of DXM administration.


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Archives of Medical Research



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