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French hospital halts trials of Trump-promoted COVID-19 drug due to worries about heart failure

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President Donald Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 has drawn criticism from medical experts who say much more work needs to be done before anyone can say it’s effective at stopping the disease.

And now one hospital in France has stopped its testing of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients over worries that the drug poses a “toxic risk” to people’s hearts when taken in combination with other drugs.

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French newspaper Nice Matin reports that Nice University Hospital “immediately stopped” its use of hydroxychloroquine in patients who exhibit “major risks” of suffering heart failure due to the drug.

“When hydroxychloroquine is given on its own, the cardiac risk is very low,” explained Émile Ferrari, the chief of the hospital’s cardiology department. “On the other hand, the antibiotic (azithromycin) which is systematically prescribed in combination with hydroxychloroquine in the anti-Covid protocol also favors these anomalies. The cardiological risk is then potentiated… if there are other associated drugs which have the same undesirable effect.”

Ferrari concluded that doctors should be careful and not view hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure.

“It is true that Covid-19 kills, but the remedy should not be more harmful than the disease itself,” he said.


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