The DRDO on Tuesday issued directions on the usage of its 2-DG drug on COVID-19 patients, stating that caution should be exercised while prescribing this medicine to people who have comorbidites such as uncontrolled diabetes, severe cardiac problem and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug for emergency use as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe coronavirus patients in early May.
The first batch of this oral drug, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was released on May 17 by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
On Tuesday, the DRDO on Twitter issued "directions for usage of this drug for COVID-19 patients as per DCGI approval".
"Ideally, 2DG should be prescribed as early as possible by doctors for moderate to severe COVID-19 patients for maximum duration up to 10 days," it mentioned.
Uncontrolled diabetes, severe cardiac problem, acute respiratory distress syndrome, severe hepatic and renal impairment patients have not been studied yet with 2DG, hence caution should be exercised, it noted.
"2DG should not be given to pregnant and lactating women and patients below 18 years," it stated.
Patients or their attendants are advised to request their hospital to contact Dr Reddy's Laboratories (DRL) for medicine supply.
The anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of 2-DG drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a leading laboratory of DRDO, in collaboration with DRL.
The DRDO said the drug is approved for emergency use as adjunct therapy to the standard treatment of COVID-19 patients in the hospital settings.
The defence ministry on May 8 said that the clinical trials of 2-DG showed that it helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence.
The approval of the drug has come at a time India has been grappling with a record-breaking wave of coronavirus pandemic that has stretched the country's healthcare infrastructure to its limit.
The drug comes in powder form in sachet and is taken orally by dissolving it in water.
In efficacy trends, the defence ministry said, patients treated with 2-DG showed faster symptomatic cure than the standard of care on various endpoints.