Friday, 05 June, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine tied to increased risk of death

Large Study Finds No Benefit — and Potential Harm — in Using Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 Anti-malaria drug taken by Trump linked to coronavirus death risk
Gustavo Carr | 23 May, 2020, 15:53

This week, Trump said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative medicine, despite a lack of scientific evidence.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were linked with an increased risk of mortality in hospitals, researchers said.

The report in the Lancet medical journal is not a rigorous test of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine but an observational one.

The president has repeatedly promoted the drug, against medical advice. "Instead, our findings suggest it may be associated with an increased risk of serious heart problems and increased risk of death".

According to health experts, Hydroxychloroquine can be recommended for malaria and conditions such as lupus or arthritis.

Researchers suggest these treatment regimens should not be used to treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials until results from randomized clinical trials are available to confirm the safety and efficacy of these medications for COVID-19 patients.

Even though the Lancet study was large, observational look-backs like this "cannot control for every possible factor that may be responsible for observed results", he said.

His study looked at almost 15,000 people with COVID-19 getting one of the malaria drugs with or without one of the suggested antibiotics and more than 81,000 patients getting none of those medications.

As previously announced, in a study of 1,063 patients sick enough to be hospitalised, the drug shortened the time to recovery by 31 per cent - 11 days on average versus 15 days for those just given usual care.

According to the global news agency, The death rates of the treated groups were: hydroxychloroquine 18%; chloroquine 16.4%; control group 9%.

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That's roughly equivalent to all of the initial claims filed during the Great Recession, from December 2007 through June 2009. The number of regular initial claims fell again week-over-week - down from 22,483 for the week ending May 9.

Those treated with hydroxychloroquine, or it in combination with the antibiotic, had a slightly higher mortality rate than those treated with chloroquine.

A major study of the way hydroxychloroquine and its older version, chloroquine, have been used on six continents - without clinical trials - reveals a sobering picture. All four of the treatments were associated with a higher risk of dying in hospital.

"The FDA is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin", the agency said.

Some took his advice and tried to use the drug to prevent the disease, and at least one person died in the United States after ingesting a substance with a similar name.

"Previous small-scale studies have failed to identify robust evidence of a benefit and larger, randomised controlled trials are not yet completed", said co-author Frank Ruschitzka, MD, Director of the Heart Center at University Hospital Zurich in a statement.

There was a rush to use the drug in Covid-19 cases after the French doctor Didier Raoult said he was curing his patients at La Timone hospital, in Marseille.

Trump said Wednesday that he will finish taking hydroxychloroquine this week, and has not reported any health issues.

A similar analysis in the USA found similar results.

Britain has ordered $42 million worth of hydroxychloroquine, despite numerous studies showing it is ineffective in treating Covid-19 and may even be more unsafe than doing nothing.

The drugs are fairly safe for patients being treated for malaria, but Covid-19 is a very different disease.