Hydroxychloroquine has been in the news for the past few months. Reportedly, the malaria drug was hailed as the game-changer drug in the treatment of coronavirus by U.S. President Donald Trump. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently issued a warning against the drug use, advising doctors to prescribe the malaria drug only in research studies and hospitals.
According to the FDA, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine sometimes showed signs of fatal heart side effects in coronavirus patients. The veteran malaria drug, which is also effective for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, could cause side effects like severely low blood pressure, muscle or nerve damage, and heart rhythm problems.
Reportedly, this warning was supported by a report from New York hospital stating that nearly 84 coronavirus patients who were treated with the antibiotic azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine gradually developed heart rhythm abnormalities.
Both these drugs are known to change the heartbeat in harmful ways over time. Moreover, their ability to help patients with COVID-19 is still unknown. Earlier this week, a National Institutes of Health experts panel warned about the usage of this drug combo, advising a restriction on its consumption except for a formal study.
Source cite that the FDA had authorized minimal use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are not taking part in any ongoing research. The agency claims that the drug’s risks are controllable when patients are cautiously monitored and screened by doctors. As of now, various studies are examining the malaria drug to determine whether it is an effective treatment for COVID-19.
Currently, regulators are investigating deaths reported and the harmful side effects of the malaria drugs to poison control centers and several other health agencies.
On the other hand, President Donald Trump has repeatedly commented in favor of hydroxychloroquine in his regular COVID-19 briefings by quoting patient’s testimonials. However, a number of early COVID-19 studies suggest otherwise, with reports showing no benefit to patient’s health.