Worldwide, immunosupressive anti-malarial drugs called chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine sales are booming. Some consider it an effective drug for fighting the coronavirus. However, the side effects of this drug are so severe and widely recognized, that even CDC leaders are questioning if this drug should even be considered for treating SARS-Cov-2.
In one study, U.S. veterans suffering from the coronavirus placed on ventilators, were divided into roughly three categories. Group A, composed of 97 patients, received hydroxychloroquine by itself. Group B, composed of 113 patients, received hydroxychloroquine with the antibiotic, Azithromycin. And group C, composed of 158 patients, received no medications. The test timeline lasted from March 9 to April 11. At the end of the study, the doctors first checked the current ventilation rates of the three groups and revealed that in Group A 6.9% were still on the ventilators, Group B 13.1%, and Group C 14.1%. While those numbers seem positive, doctors also checked the death rates and released those as follows: Group A 27.8%, Group B 22.1%, Group C 11.4%. As proven, mortality rates were much higher for those taking hydroxychloroquine than for those that don't. Those receiving no treatment at all fared best.
Chloroquine safety has not just been controversial in America but also in other countries. In Brazil, researchers organized a test trial to determine the pros and cons of taking chloroquine. The study included 81 participants split into two groups. Group 1, with 41 patients, recieved higher doses of hydroxychloroquine: 600 mg twice daily in combination with Azithromycin, while group 2, with the remaining 40 patients, received average doses of hydroxychloroquine: 450 mg twice daily also in conjunction with Azithromycin. The effects were so detrimental, the study was ultimately cut short from the intended timeline of 28 days, to 13 days. 16 of the patients from group 1 and six patients from group 2 died, many of them from drug-induced 'sudden cardiac arrhythmia' and heart muscle damage. Many other patients from the study were placed in intensive care.
In the famous Washington State veterans home, patients with and without covid were given a five day experimental regimen of hydroxychloroquine. 42 people died. "Nurses and aides at the home, who came to call the regimen the “covid cocktail,” said administrators shrugged off critical infection-control protocols before the drug was widely prescribed for more than two weeks in April. Patients with Covid were put in the same rooms as patients who didn't have Covid. Thus, the infection rate increased drastically. Then the residents were given hydroxychloroquine, including residents with heart conditions, which increases the risk of life threatening side effects. “Watching people die was awful,” one nurse told a state inspector. “We were told to wrap the residents in a body bag and meet the undertaker at the elevator.”
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In June, the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) to use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 in certain hospitalized patients.
This month, the FDA cautioned against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems. Their report includes reports of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.
In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers concluded that hydroxychloroquine, or HCQ, does not prevent infection with Covid-19 when administered to people soon after exposure to the virus.
In a different study, researchers testing whether hydroxychloroquine helped hospitalized Covid-19 patients said Friday they halted the U.K.-based study after a preliminary analysis showed the pill didn’t provide a benefit. In the 4,500-subject trial, patients given hydroxychloroquine had no better chance of surviving the disease, than patients who didn’t receive the drug.