Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s Health Ministry has discontinued the use of Vitamin C in the management of COVID-19 citing the high toxic levels associated with the drug.
Vitamin C, alias ascorbic acid, is a chewable or dissolvable tablet or intravenous drug that supplements the uptake of nutrients in the body.
Until recently, Vitamin C has been one of the drugs used to manage COVID-19 because it is an antioxidant that can stop inflammation of the lungs and other organs. Vitamin C also helps in the development of white blood cells needed to fight off the virus.
However, some health workers involved in the management of the virus, says that the the easily accessible drug is no longer being used because people were abusing it and developing complications.
Dr. Misaki Wayengera, the chairman of the inter-Ministerial COVID-19 Committee, says that they took a decision to discontinue the use of the drug after people showed up in hospital at the brink of developing kidney failure because of its continued use.
According to doctors, the recommended dosage of Vitamin C for the management of flu is two tablets taken after every eight hours. The most one can swallow in a day are 12 tablets. However, due to the sweet nature of the drug, some people were taking triple or more than the recommended dosage.
In January, the country registered a shortage of 100mg Vitamin C.
Many city pharmacies in areas such as Ntinda, Wandegeya and Kamwokya resorted to rationing the supplement because of increased demand. The rationing took place during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic. Dr. Bruce Kirenga, a lung expert and part of the COVID-19 clinical team, says that they are going to use drugs with evidence of efficacy.
“We dropped vitamin C because it had become both toxic and ineffective in managing the disease. Instead of using Vitamin C, we shall be using other treatments that have shown to be effective in managing the disease,” Dr. Kirenga said.
According to Dr Kirenga, dexamethasone, Baricitimib, zinc and inhalable steroids are currently being used to manage the resurging cases of COVID-19. Vitamin D will also be used in some cases. In addition to this, treatments for co-morbidities will also be used for patients who need them.