Covid: Doctors warn home-isolated patients against taking unwarranted drugs

Covid: Doctors warn home-isolated patients against taking unwarranted drugs

Photo for representation only.

Tribune News Service

Naina Mishra

Chandigarh, January 18

Even after witnessing devastating effects of consuming unwarranted drugs in the name of Covid-19 during the second wave and patients developing mucormycosis (black fungus), patients in home isolation continue to take medicines prescribed by their private practitioners that are not needed for resolution of symptoms. These medicines, PGI and GMCH, Sector 32, doctors say, lack empirical evidence and do not help with Covid-19.

A lot of home-isolated patients in the tricity have been found taking multivitamins, antibiotics and antivirals that have been put off treatment in the revised treatment protocol by the ICMR.

Expertspeak

Routine use of medicines such as antibiotics, vitamin supplements, anti-oxidants and ivermectin is not needed at all. Several home-isolated patients continue to use these drugs on their own. — Dr Ashutosh Aggarwal, Dept of Pulmonary Medicine, PGI

A 32-year-old Covid patient in home isolation said, “I had only throat irritation and there was no fever or body ache. I was suggested to take ivermectin, vitamin C and zinc tablets by my physician.”

Another patient from Mohali said he was prescribed a schedule of eight tablets that included multivitamins and antibiotics for his kid, who tested Covid positive. His entire family was in home isolation, though his prescription had a different set of medicines which also included montek LC (anti-allergic).

In the case of other home-isolated patients, it was found that a lot of them were also taking azithromycin, an antibacterial medicine that has no role in Covid-19.

This practice of prescribing unwarranted drugs continues in Chandigarh and the tricity even as the guidelines drafted by experts from the ICMR-Covid19 Task Force, AIIMS and the Directorate General of Health Services, favour not recommending medicines like antibiotics doxycycline and azithromycin, and antiparasitic ivermectin for mild cases of Covid-19, which are to be managed at home in isolation.

Dr Ashutosh Aggarwal from the Department of Pulmonary Medicine, PGI, said, “The guidelines for the treatment of Covid-19, recently updated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, have reiterated the policy of minimum medication for people having mild disease. Only symptomatic treatment, mainly antipyretic drugs (like paracetamol) and cough suppressants, are recommended as per need.”

“Routine use of other medicines such as antibiotics, vitamin supplements, anti-oxidants and ivermectin is not needed at all. Several home-isolated patients continue to use these drugs on their own, and many medical practitioners are prescribing these to all patients. This not only inflates the overall cost of therapy but also unnecessarily exposes patients to the side effects of these drugs, without any beneficial effect on recovery. Such indiscriminate polypharmacy should be avoided,” added Dr Aggarwal.

Dr Sanjay D’cruz from the Department of Internal Medicine, GMCH, said, “Most of the drugs and multivitamins consumed by patients in home isolation are not required. Mild patients can take crocin or cough syrup. They should monitor their oxygen saturation and report to the nearest medical facility if there is a cause for alarm. There is no point taking antibiotics as these do not help in viral illness. There is no evidence that drugs like ivermectin help in Covid. Our rapid response teams are available 24X7 and patients can call us directly for any help.”

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