Hydroxychloroquine has been used for decades to prevent or treat malaria and auto-immune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Almost since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump has praised Hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment and prevention of COVID-19. He has recently used the medicine, after consulting with the White House doctor, to prevent COVID-19.
Can Hydroxychloroquine Cure COVID-19?
This medicine has been widely used in COVID-19 affected countries. Even as it emerges as one of the most readily available drugs, there’s a considerable debate centering on the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment of the coronavirus. Studies performed have seen positive, negative, or insignificant results from using this medication against coronavirus.
Case Studies in China And France
In the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, researchers in China reported that over 100 people with COVID-19 were treated with Hydroxychloroquine. These patients had less severe disease and shorter illness duration compared to those who did not receive the medicine. Another small study done in France reported that patients who got 600 mg of Hydroxychloroquine had a lower amount of COVID-19 in their body. A third study of 62 people in Wuhan, China, used Hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms. Their cough and fever improved one day earlier for those who got 400 mg of Hydroxychloroquine for five days compared to those who did not receive any.
In a large study of 1,376 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in New York City, 811 patients received Hydroxychloroquine. There was not a significant difference in the risk of either needing a breathing tube or death between the patients who got Hydroxychloroquine and those who didn’t. Another large study, published by the British Medical Journal, concluded that the medicine did not help treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19 at 21 days after admission. 89% of people who took Hydroxychloroquine were still alive, and 82% no longer needed extra oxygen. These numbers were about the same in the group who didn’t get the medicine.
FDA Issues A Warning
In April, the FDA issued a warning that using Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 outside of a hospital setting can put people at risk for serious heart rhythm problems, especially QT prolongation. QT prolongation means that the heart muscles take longer than average to recharge between beats. This is a well-known side effect of this medication. Due to the increase in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hydroxychloroquine is in short supply. Unfortunately, this short supply has made it difficult for patients with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus to get Hydroxychloroquine, putting them at risk of complications.
As the COVID-19 pandemic still looms over the world, Hydroxychloroquine is still being debated on whether it is efficient in treating or preventing COVID-19. Several studies have been performed on the drug. These studies have shown positive, negative, or insignificant results.