The ‘Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY (RECOVERY) Trial’ is a national program in the UK to study multiple potential therapies for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The program involves thousands of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and research personnel. The dexamethasone branch of the RECOVERY Trial program was halted on June 8th because the steering committee felt there was sufficient evidence to make a determination whether there was benefit to this therapy. The chief investigators, Professors Horby and Landray, reported the findings on June 16, 2020.
The preliminary results found that
Overall dexamethasone reduced the 28-day mortality rate by 17% (0.83 [0.74 to 0.92]; P=0.0007) with a highly significant trend showing greatest benefit among those patients requiring ventilation (test for trend p<0.001)
Randomized controlled trial (RCT)
Patients hospitalized with COVID-19
Dexamethasone 6 mg daily (oral or IV) vs usual care alone
Within 28 days after randomization: Death | Discharge | Need for ventilation | Need for renal replacement therapy
Additional data collected
Age | Sex | Major co-morbidity | Pregnancy | COVID-19 onset date and severity
Dexamethasone group: 2104 patients | Usual care alone: 4321 patients
Usual care group
28-day mortality rates
Requiring ventilation: 41%
Oxygen only: 25%
No respiratory intervention: 13%
Dexamethasone group: Reduction in deaths vs usual care alone
Requiring ventilation: Rate ratio (RR) 0.65 (95% CI, 0.48 to 0.88]; p=0.0003)
Oxygen only: RR 0.80 (95% CI, 0.67 to 0.96; p=0.0021)
No respiratory intervention: RR 1.22 (95% CI, 0.86 to 1.75; p=0.14)
Need to treat
Ventilated patients: 1 death would be prevented by treatment of approximately 8 patients
Oxygen alone: 1 death prevented by treatment of approximately 25 patients
Reduction in deaths for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 with the use of low dose dexamethasone
Reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients
Reduced deaths by 20% for oxygen only patients
No benefit for patients not requiring respiratory support
Full report will be published
Professor Hornsby, one of the chief investigators states that
…dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide
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