MANILA -- The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers against using the steroid drug dexamethasone without a prescription, following reports that it could be used to treat COVID-19.
Unsupervised use of dexamethasone could lead to immunosuppression or impairment of the body’s ability to fight infection, gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers, electrolyte imbalance, osteoporosis, muscle weakness and poor wound healing, the FDA said.
Prolonged use can suppress growth among infants and children and lead to obesity, it said. Dexamethasone can also cause withdrawal symptoms such as hypotension, shock and coma
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly reminds the public that Dexamethasone is a prescription drug and should strictly be used under the supervision of a licensed physician,” the regulator said in an advisory.
The Department of Health also earlier warned the public against self-medication.
Those who are aware of the sale or the purchase of the drug without prescription may report it to the FDA Center for Drug Regulation and Research at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“All violators shall be dealt with legal actions,” the FDA said.
Adverse reactions may also be reported through the FDA website.