Chandigarh, January 20
The UT Health Department continued to give azithromycin, an antibiotic drug, to Covid patients in home isolation despite the drug being put off the clinical treatment protocol by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) last year.
In March 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had suggested using azithromycin along with hydroxychloroquine as an off label.
The ICMR clinical management protocols of May and December 2021 do not find a mention of antibiotics to be prescribed to Covid patients as the protocols were revised time and again as more evidence gathered. A senior PGI doctor said, “Azithromycin is an antibiotic that means it will work against bacterial infections. However, its use in Covid came because of some experimental data that it works in Covid too. So far, this drug has not been found to be of any use in Covid.”
A home isolation kit accessed by Chandigarh Tribune reveals a list of medicines, which includes a five-day course of azithromycin, 10 capsules of zinc tablets, 20 chewable tablets of vitamin C and giloy tablets among other drugs. This home isolation kit list pertains to January 6 whereas the ICMR excluded multivitamins from the clinical treatment protocol on January 17. However, it is worth mentioning that azithromycin has been off the treatment protocol since last year itself.
Asked, Dr Suman Singh, Director, Health Services, said, “We only provide home isolation kits to patients who require it through Red Cross Society. The list of medicines has now been updated and azithromycin has been omitted from it.”
The current clinical guidelines prescribe antipyretic (fever suppressants), antitussives (cough suppressants) and hydration among mild patients with symptoms. The guidelines require mild patients to monitor their temperature and oxygen saturation and, if fever persists or Spo2 falls below 93 per cent, they should seek medical help.
What’s deleted from clinical treatment?
Ivermectin | Multivitamin | HCQ
What’s allowed for mild cases
- Antipyretics (fever suppressants)
- Antitussive (cough suppressants)
- Monitor temperature & oxygen saturation
Seek immediate medical attention if
- Difficulty in breathing
- High-grade fever/severe cough, particularly if lasting more than 5 days
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