A new study reports that progesterone therapy may improve clinical outcomes for male COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 disproportionately affects men compared with women, raising the possibility that hormone-like progesterone may improve clinical outcomes for certain hospitalized men. Some published research had indicated that premenopausal women, who usually have higher progesterone levels have less severe COVID-19 than postmenopausal women.
Some preclinical studies had also pointed out that progesterone may have certain anti-inflammatory properties. These findings suggested that progesterone might be useful in dampening the cytokine storm. Researchers performed a clinical trial involving 40 male patients hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19.
The patients were divided into two groups. Patients in the control group received the standard medical care at the time for the disease. Patients in the experimental group received standard care plus twice-daily injections of 100 milligrams of progesterone for five days while they were hospitalized. Both groups were assessed daily for 15 days or until they were discharged from the hospital. The study showed that compared with the control group, patients in the group treated with progesterone scored a median of 1.5 points higher on a standard seven-point scale of clinical status after seven days. The scale ranged from a high of 7 (“not hospitalized, no limitations on activities”) to 1 (“death”).
Although the progesterone group overall also had fewer days of hospitalization and a lower need for supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation, the differences between the two groups in those specific categories were not statistically significant. These findings encourage the potential of using progesterone to treat men with COVID-19. Further studies in larger populations are necessary.
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