Cheap hydrocortisone drug reduces deaths and gives a 93% chance of a better recovery, research finds


A cheap and widely available steroid has been found to reduce mortality in the sickest COVID-19 patients.

Hydrocortisone, an anti-inflammatory drug, could save one in every 12 patients and will be recommended for use in NHS coronavirus patients.

It is the second drug found to be effective in reducing mortality in those with severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Researchers from Imperial College London and the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre found that patients receiving intensive care who were treated with hydrocortisone for seven days had a 93% chance of a better recovery compared to patients who were not treated with the steroid.

The benefits of hydrocortisone were announced alongside analysis from seven trials involving three different types of steroids, including dexamethasone which has already been found to reduce mortality and is widely used.

The studies found that treatment with one of the three steroids: dexamethasone, hydrocortisone or methylprednisolone led to an estimated 20% reduction in the risk of death.

Professor Anthony Gordon, who led the research into hydrocortisone, said: “The studies published today show that we now have more than one choice of treatment for those who need it most.


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