Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug President Donald Trump pushed for weeks and admitted he was taking to try to prevent contracting coronavirus offers no benefit in COVID-19 patients and in fact is linked to a “significantly higher risk of death.”
The Washington Post reports on a just-released study published in the renowned medical journal the Lancet, which examined records of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients. Those treated with hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old drug not approved in the U.S. by the FDA for treating coronavirus, “had a significantly higher risk of death compared with those who did not.”
Patients treated with the drug “were also more likely to develop a type of irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, that can lead to sudden cardiac death, it concluded.”
Scientists are convinced the drug should not be used for COVID-19 patients.
“It’s one thing not to have benefit, but this shows distinct harm,” cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute Eric Topol told The Post. “If there was ever was hope for this drug, this is the death of it.”
David Maron, director of preventive cardiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said that “these findings provide absolutely no reason for optimism that these drugs might be useful in the prevention or treatment of covid-19.”
President Trump has called using hydroxychloroquine off-label on coronavirus patients a “game changer,” and repeatedly asked, “what have you got to lose?” He also recently admitted he became interested in the drug because a physician he does not know and has “never heard of” sent him a letter touting its benefits.
“Hydroxychloroquine, try it,” Trump said at a press briefing in April.
— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) April 6, 2020