President Donald Trump has been touting the anti-malaria drug chloroquine phosphate as a possible solution for the treatment of the coronavirus. It isn't a cure nor is it a prophylactic for the coronavirus. It also hasn't been tested and because people are buying it up, scientists are having trouble finding it so they can test it.
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the… https://t.co/0ZEF0mdfJg— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1584799988.0
While one man says that it helped him, another is dead.
A great early result from a drug that will start tomorrow in New York and other places! #COVIDー19 https://t.co/4F4Qk4WFtK— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1584979553.0
"Medical toxicologists and emergency physicians are warning the public against the use of inappropriate medications and household products to prevent or treat COVID-19. In particular, Banner Health experts emphasize that chloroquine, a malaria medication, should not be ingested to treat or prevent this virus," reported the Banner Health system.
“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, who works at Banner's Poison and Drug Information Center as medical director. “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”
The man who died was in his 60s and his wife is in critical condition after both of them ingested chloroquine phosphate. The chemical is an additive frequently used to clean fish tanks, though it is unclear if that's how they obtained it. While they may sound the same, chloroquine is different from hydroxychloroquine as the latter is a less toxic derivative of chloroquine.
There have been numerous chloroquine overdoses in Nigeria in the wake of Trump's comments.
“We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Brooks.