On Tuesday, writing for The Washington Post, University of California professor Stacy Torres discussed her reliance on hydroxychloroquine to treat a rare autoimmune disease — and the damage President Donald Trump is doing with his medical misinformation about the drug.
"For 14 years, since I was diagnosed at 26, I have taken hydroxychloroquine to treat Sjogren’s syndrome, a systemic disease that causes crushing fatigue and joint pain, among other symptoms, and can damage the kidneys, liver, lungs, nerves and skin," wrote Torres. "The president first began touting hydroxychloroquine in March, when he called it a potential “game-changer” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. This predictably led to shortages, as doctors and others worried about the virus began stockpiling the drug. Those of us who take the medication for Sjogren’s and other autoimmune conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, were left counting down our pills as we struggled to obtain refills."
After the FDA declined to recommend hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus and another drug, remdesivir, showed promise, Torres wrote, "I thought the coverage of these developments would be a game-changer for me. But then Monday, despite everything, Trump told reporters: 'A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it' — meaning hydroxychloroquine. He heard a lot of 'good stories' about it, he said, and consulted with the White House physician."
"And just like that I’m back to wading through a thick pool of uncertainty, at a time when more uncertainty is the last thing I need," continued Torres. "Right now I have a little over two months left of my hydroxychloroquine medication supply. I put a big red circle on my calendar to remind me to inquire about obtaining my next refill early."
"Mr. President, I don’t feel good," wrote Torres. "My new normal is one of frustration and unnecessary stress, which leaves me vulnerable to worsening health and perhaps could even trigger another autoimmune condition. Colleagues and friends of my family have gotten sick or lost relatives. I don’t know if I will live through this virus; I would clearly face real risks if I were to contract it."
"With hydroxychloroquine receding from the news in the past few weeks, I thought I could give myself a break from thinking about this nightmarish situation for a quick minute," concluded Torres. "But with this president it seems there is no rest."
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