Quacks blamed for indiscriminate use of corticosteroids that cause various side effects

A Raju, HyderabadThursday, September 23, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Leading health experts have cautioned that indiscriminate way of prescribing corticosteroids by quacks in rural areas will lead to various side effects among the public causing innumerable health problems.

According to Ravi Shankar Erukalapati, senior endocrinologists, Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad, corticosteroid medicines like dexamethasone, prednisolone and methylprednisolone are indiscriminately prescribed by quacks like Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs) and Primary Medical Practitioners (PMPs) in rural areas, particularly in villages and smaller towns. However, un-checked use of these medicines among the public is leading to dangerous side effects such as weight gain, water retention, easy bruising, elevated blood glucose, delayed healing of wounds and increased risk of various infections, apart from increasing high blood pressure.

The expert says that even though some people are claiming that dexamethasone is a lifesaving drug for the severely ill Covid cases, however there is no proven role of dexamethasone or any of the corticosteroids what-so-ever in mild, asymptomatic or doubtful Covid cases or in prevention of Covid illness as on today.

“Dexamethasone belongs to a group of medication called corticosteroids (which are hormones) and are commonly used for various medical ailments such as asthma, allergies, skin problems, certain arthritis and many other inflammatory conditions. They are also used to treat corticosteroid deficiency and in some cases of sepsis. However, if these medicines should be taken only upon the prescription of a registered doctor, but what we are finding is, quacks, RMPs and PMPs in rural areas are indiscriminately writing these medicines to the patients, which in turn the patients are becoming further vulnerable to other infections and side effects related diseases,” says the endocrinologists.

The expert felt that unless advised and prescribed by a doctor, people should not use the corticosteroids as it causes serious side effects and have to be under strict medical supervision.

The expert alleged that quacks in the rural areas are major culprits as majority cases which are coming from villages are to tertiary hospitals in Hyderabad are related to blood pressure, thinning of bones, stomach ulcers, mood swings and psychosis are mainly caused due to indiscriminate use of corticosteroids.