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Health Ministry drops ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine from COVID-19 treatment guidelines

The guidelines said no medication is required for asymptomatic cases, while anti-pyretic and anti-tussive medicines have been prescribed for symptomatic relief in mild cases.

The guidelines said steroids should be used only for hospitalised moderately severe and critically ill COVID-19 cases. The guidelines said steroids should be used only for hospitalised moderately severe and critically ill COVID-19 cases.

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), under the Health Ministry, has dropped drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, doxycycline, zinc and multivitamins that were earlier prescribed by doctors to asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients from the revised guidelines issued by it for treatment of infection.

However, the new guidelines have not been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research yet.

The revised guidelines said no medication is required for asymptomatic cases, while anti-pyretic and anti-tussive medicines have been prescribed for symptomatic relief in mild COVID-19 cases.

On use of anti-viral drug remdesivir, the guidelines said, "Remdesivir is reserved drug approved by DCG (I) under Emergency Use Authorization only based on limited scientific evidence globally. It is to be used only in select moderate/ severe hospitalised COVID-19 patients on supplemental oxygen within 10 days of onset of disease."

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It said remdesivir should not be given to mild COVID-19 patients who are in home care/COVID Care Centres. "Physicians are advised to exercise extreme caution in using remdesivir as this is only an experimental drug with potential to harm."

On immunosuppressant drug tocilizumab, the guidelines said it "has been approved by DCG (I) for use as an off-label drug only in severe and critically ill patients of COVID-19".

It also clarified on the use of steroids, saying they are not indicated and are harmful in asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19, and should be used only for hospitalised moderately severe and critically ill COVID-19 cases. "Steroids should be used at the right time, in right dose and for right duration," it said, adding that self-medication must be avoided.

On Monday, India reported 1,00,636 fresh COVID-19 cases, the lowest in 61 days. Active cases dropped to 14,01,609, while death toll due to coronavirus reached 3,49,186 with 2,427 new fatalities.

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