PAHO official Dr Jarbas Barbosa. (GP)
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London - A leading health official in the Americas has told the BBC that taking dexamethasone without a prescription could be dangerous.
Dexamethasone is the cheap steroid recently found to reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients who are already severely ill in hospital.
Dr Jarbas Barbosa, assistant director of the Pan-American Health Organisation, told BBC OS that "in certain circumstances, it can worsen the response of the body to the virus".
"If you take it at the beginning of the infection, or if you have another infection that isn't Covid-19, it can worsen the situation," he said.
"Unfortunately, in many countries in Latin America, you can buy dexamethasone and other medicine without a prescription, so it's very important for national authorities to state this very clearly." (BBC)