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New research: Common drug found effective against mild and moderate Covid

According to the US National Library of Medicine, indomethacin works by stopping the body’s production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation.

By: Express News Serivce | New Delhi |
Updated: April 23, 2022 8:25:44 am
An employee places candles that resemble Covid-19 test kits, vaccination syringes at a store in Athens, Greece, on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)

A common anti-inflammatory drug has been found to be an effective antiviral agent in the treatment of mild and moderate Covid-19 patients. The drug, indomethacin, is widely used to treat various types of inflammation-related conditions. The study on Covid patients, by IIT Madras, has been published in Nature Scientific Reports.

The drug: Indomethacin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug available as capsules and a liquid suspension, to be taken orally. According to the US National Library of Medicine, indomethacin works by stopping the body’s production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation. It is used to relieve moderate to severe pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness caused by various kinds of arthritis, and pain in the shoulder caused by inflammation.

The findings: A randomised clinical trial was conducted by IIT Madras researchers at Panimalar Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai. Out of 210 patients admitted, 107 were randomly allocated to a control group and treated with paracetamol and standard care, while 103 patients were administered indomethacin along with standard care of treatment, a media release from IIT Madras said.

None of the 103 patients who received indomethacin developed oxygen desaturation, while 20 patients in the control group were desaturated (saturation levels below 93%). Indomethacin group patients recovered from all symptoms in three to four days, while it took twice that time for the control group, the release said.

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Liver and kidney function tests showed no adverse reaction. A 14th-day follow-up showed that nearly half the control group patients had several discomforts while a few indomethacin patients complained only of tiredness, the release said.

Earlier findings: In an earlier study by the same team in the Journal of the Indian Medical Association, 72 patients were given indomethacin and 72 other patients, paracetamol. Only one patient under indomethacin treatment developed hypoxia, compared to 28 in the paracetamol group. Administration of indomethacin to patients with Covid symptoms prevented the need for ventilation, the release said.

“Indomethacin works with all variants. We had done two trials, one in the first wave and the other in the second wave. The results were the same,” researcher Professor Rajan Ravichandran was quoted as saying.

Study: ‘An open label randomized clinical trial of Indomethacin for mild and moderate hospitalised Covid-19 patients’, Rajan Ravichandran et al, Nature Scientific Reports.

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