So far, only two drugs have been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 in the EU and, like all drugs, they have side effects.
The antiviral drug remdesivir is completely newly developed and approved this summer by the European Medicines Agency, EMA. The medicine has been shown in studies to cause common side effects such as nausea, headache and rash. One in ten of the subjects experienced a transient increase in liver enzymes, indicating liver damage.
So far it has come up 1,500 reports of suspected EMA adverse reactions in COVID patients. The most common are elevated liver enzymes, acute kidney damage, skin rash, and lung failure. EMA has opened an investigation into suspected kidney involvement in strade divir.
According to Karl-Mikael Kälkner, subject area creator at the Drug Safety Unit of the Medical Products Agency, the number of reports is usually higher for new substances than for older substances. The system is there to find new and unknown side effects.
“You can’t find all the unusual side effects in the population studied, but you only see them when the drug starts to use,” he says.
The second drug from the COVID group, Dexamethasone is a cortisone preparation that inhibits inflammation so that the immune system does not attack the lung tissue. Dexamethasone is well-proven and has been used to treat many other diseases for 60 years. Many side effects have been documented, but which ones occur largely depends on the length of treatment. When treatment time is relatively short – as is usually the case in patients with infectious disease – high blood sugar levels are among them.
– You should look for an effect on the sugar level in the body. If a patient has diabetes, it must be monitored carefully, often more insulin is needed, says Karl-Mikael Kälkner.
Dexamethasone can also be difficult on the digestive tract, causing stomach ulcers and holes in the intestine.
– It is possible that you may have these problems after a week of high-dose treatment. You should stay alert.
Another thing physicians should be aware of are psychological symptoms.
– You can get dizzy from cortisone, restless, staring and confused even if you don’t have an underlying mental illness Most people are a little staring at a high dose of dexamethasone.
To date, EMA has received 84 reports of suspected side effects in patients with infectious disease. It is mainly about blood sugar disorders.
Infektionsläkaren Piotr Nowak At the University Hospital, Karolinska thinks it can be difficult to distinguish the side effects from the symptoms of the disease itself. At the same time, she points out that the benefits outweigh the risks as the side effects are transient and treatable.
Common side effects that doctors have noted after taking remdesivir are nausea and headache. In some cases, they also noted effects on the liver.
– However, it is difficult to generalize the side effects of remdesivir as experience is limited. We treated about 40 patients with this drug in the fall, he says.
However, hundreds of patients with infectious disease have been treated with dexamethasone or other cortisone preparations.
– The most common side effects are the effects on sugar levels. At the same time, people with diabetes are at risk and already have high blood sugar levels when they enter. Diabetes may worsen during treatment, but we have the ability to correct blood sugar levels.
Doctors are aware that dexamethasone can cause stomach ulcers, and you usually use protective medicines such as omeprazole during treatment.
In some cases, they also observed a psychological impact.
– Especially confusion in the elderly, but can also occur in younger patients. Thereafter, the dose may be adjusted or the medication stopped.
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