The drug budesonide, used to treat symptoms of asthma and allergic rhinitis, can shorten the recovery time for patients over 50 who suffer from the consequences of coronavirus infection. The discovery was made by the COVID-19 Rapid Response initiative, conducted by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, which seeks solutions for interventions of the disease in older people.
The study is already the largest phase 3 controlled clinical trial in the world that seeks an effective treatment of COVID-19, aiming to significantly reduce recovery time. The latest discoveries made with budesonide bring hope for the treatment of the disease still in its initial stage, in community settings and outside the hospital.
The inhaled drug is considered a safe corticosteroid, as well as being cheap and easy to find, and started to be tested in November of last year. It is used in inhalers and inhalers to treat not only asthma, but also chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In the tests, 961 patients received budesonide for inhalation at home, then compared with another 1,819 patients who received traditional treatment from the UK health service. Among the people who received the asthma drug, 751 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus, and of the other group, 1028 people were infected.
Based on the most recent data, obtained on March 25, 2021, the results show that the estimated average recovery time with the use of inhaled budesonide was 3.01 days less compared to the common treatment, with probability high to be more effective. In addition, 32% of patients who inhaled the asthma medication recovered in the first 14 days, while in the other group the proportion was 22%.
Study participants who were in the budesonide group also reported feeling more well-being over the next two weeks. After 28 days of study, 8.5% of people in the budesonide group needed hospitalization to treat COVID-19, while in the traditional care group 10.3% were hospitalized.
The treatment was done in patients who were over 50 and had some comorbidity that could put them at risk if the disease worsened, and also in people over 65.