Islamabad September 6 2021: As per the latest guidelines issued by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, baricitinib or tofacitinib are appropriate alternatives to tocilizumab. Both belong to the same class of anti-inflammatory drugs i.e the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors. Baricitinib (or tofacitinib) should only be given in combination with dexamethasone or another corticosteroid.
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Currently Tocilizumab is being used for curing COVID. Tocilizumab, especially in combination with dexamethasone, has been effective at lowering the mortality rate among COVID-19 patients whose respiratory systems decomposed rapidly and required oxygen delivery through a high-flow device or noninvasive ventilation. However, there is now a shortage of this life-saving drug not just in Pakistan but across the world. Regulatory bodies in various countries have re-directed healthcare providers to alternatives.
Healthcare workers, especially those involved in critical care of COVID-19 patients, should visit the NCOC website and review the guidelines which include more details about dosage and precautions.