Tuesday, 02 June, 2020

Drug touted by Trump as virus treatment increases death risk

Drug touted by Trump to treat COVID-19 linked to higher death risk - study Drug advisory stuns doctors
Gustavo Carr | 23 May, 2020, 09:13

Underscoring the fact that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not licensed to treat or prevent the coronavirus respiratory disease, the United Kingdom government has been emphatically urging against using the medication outside clinical trials.

The researchers said their observational study findings suggest that the use of the two drugs in COVID-19 patients should be restricted to clinical trials until there's proof from "gold standard" randomized clinical trials that the medications are, in fact, safe and effective.

The authors said they could not confirm whether taking the drug resulted in any benefit in coronavirus patients.

Instead, those who received one of the medications had a higher risk of death than those who did not take the medications.

They compared the outcomes for almost 15,000 patients who had been treated with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine - either alone or in combination with antibiotics - with more than 81,000 patients who had not been treated with any of those drugs.

The patients were admitted to 671 hospitals between December 20 and April 14, and all had either been discharged or had died by April 21.

It found that those who were treated with chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine through four methods all died at a higher rate than those who did not received the drug.

Stars hand social media spotlight to health experts
Fauci - her Ocean's Eleven co-star Brad Pitt portrayed the medical expert during a recent episode of Saturday Night Live. It's run by ONE , a worldwide marketing campaign to finish excessive poverty and preventable illness by 2030.

Even though other factors - including age, obesity and preexisting health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes - might have played a role in the differences in death rates, hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine was still associated with an increased risk of death, the researchers concluded. About 14,000 of which received one of four drug cocktails that included chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine. Stephen Griffin, associate professor at the University of Leeds' School of Medicine said the Lancet research was "potentially a landmark study for Covid-19 therapy".

The highest rate (8%) was among patients given hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic, compared with 0.3% of patients in the control group. It has now expanded the recommendation to include healthcare workers in all hospitals and paramilitary and police personnel on Covid-19 duty.

Because the drugs have demonstrated antiviral effects in laboratory studies, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are still worth studying, the researchers noted, and said the need for randomized clinical trials is urgent.

The drugs have now been shown to be tied to a greater risk of death and heart rhythm problems in the study of almost 100,000 patients around the world.

The Lancet study involved 96,000 coronavirus patients, almost 15,000 of whom were given hydroxychloroquine - or a related form chloroquine - either alone or with an antibiotic. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against taking hydroxychloroquine with antibiotics and has said the malaria drug should only be used for coronavirus in formal studies.

It will be open to British participants who are in close contact with patients with proven or suspected COVID-19.

New England Journal of Medicine also published preliminary results of a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health of remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences drug that is the first to show any evidence of benefit against the coronavirus in a large, rigorous experiment. Christian Funck-Brentano, of Sorbonne University in Paris, wrote in a journal commentary accompanying the new study.