The Union health and family welfare ministry on Monday revised the Covid-19 treatment guidelines and removed the use of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and the antiviral drug favipiravir from its list of advised treatment.
The nine-page guidelines shared by the health ministry do not cite the use of these medicines which have been used widely by doctors to treat Covid-19 patients.
Use of Ivermectin has been prescribed in certain quantities only, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The revised guidelines do not mention medicines such as zinc, multivitamins which were prescribed by the doctors for asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic Covid-19 cases. However, the new guidelines mention the use of antipyretic and antitussive for symptomatic relief.
Among the key guidelines which have been routinely stressed on include use of wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene.
Suggesting a moderate use of other drugs like Remedesivir and Tocilizumab, the guideline advises the former to be used only in select moderate/severe hospitalised Covid-19 patients on supplemental oxygen within 10 days of onset of disease.
Tocilizumab, an immunosuppressant drug, was approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and is mentioned in the guidelines on what conditions the drug should be used.
What do the experts say
Experts have said Covid-19 patients on home care should not take Remdesivir medication and they should get admitted at a hospital if the oxygen level drops below 94.
“Remdesivir should never be taken at home. Positive attitude and regular exercise are a must for patients in home isolation, Dr Neeraj Nishchal of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had said.
Informing about the use of Ivermectin and Paracetamol, Dr Manish from AIIMS said that their use depends on the immunity level and other patient-specific conditions so one should take medicines only as prescribed by the doctors.
While informing about the medicines taken to fight Covid-19, he said, many patients insist on the use of Azithromycin, but the guidelines clearly discourage the use of these tablets.