Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug repeatedly suggested by many, including United States President Donald Trump, as a safe COVID-19 patients’ treatment.
However, it has been found to be linked with consequential side effects especially in terms of cardiac health.
Many have suggested that this drug be taken with an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections which is azithromycin.
Anecdotal evidence may have suggested the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could treat COVID-19 patients. Healthcare specialists have noted multiple times that these claims lack clinical data to back them up.
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Effects of Using Hydroxycholoroquine to COVID-19 Patients
On April 11, researchers analyzed data from 368 COVID-19 patients. Each patient was treated with only hydroxychloroquine (97 patients), hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (113 patients), and no hydroxychloroquine at all (158 patients).
In total, the patients treated with only hydroxychloroquine experienced a death rate of 27.8%.
Patients treated with both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have experienced a death rate of 22.1%, while patients receiving neither treatment had a death rate of 11.4%.
All the three groups had a similar risk of ventilation. They were all treated at medical centers affiliated with the US Veterans Health Administration.
“In this study, we have found no evidence that the use of hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin, reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone. These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, and controlled studies before widespread adoption of drugs.”Joseph Magagnoli, University of South Carolina
Because of this research, the Treatment Guidelines Panel formed by the NIH is now specifically against the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat COVID-19 patients.
The panel is saying that “there is insufficient clinical data to recommend either for against” the use of these drugs.
According to NIH-backed guidelines, no drug has been proven safe and effective yet for treating COVID-19.
All the evidence is not enough to make a recommendation about early promising treatments.
“Recommended clinical management of patients with COVID-19 includes infection prevention and control measures and supportive care, including supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilatory support when needed”.National Institutes of Health (NIH)