Trump's beloved hydroxychloroquine actually worsens the coronavirus

Hydroxychloroquine tablets

Despite the recommendations set forth by his own administration, Trump told reporters this week that he is taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against COVID-19.

The study found that the patients were more likely to die in hospital and develop heart rhythm complications than other Covid patients in a comparison group.

President Trump has repeatedly defended the drug he describes as a "game changer" going as far as calling one study's finding an anti-Trump "enemy statement".

In addition to treating malaria, hydroxychloroquine is also often used by doctors to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

"Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine should therefore no longer be used for Covid-19 before we have the results of further, now ongoing randomised clinical studies".

The large observational study included records of 96,032 patients from 671 hospitals in six continents.

"The key finding of this study is that neither single, nor combination therapy with either chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine appear to provide any patient benefit in large numbers of Covid-19 infected patients". The authors explain that if the rate of mortality is 9.3% in the control group, after adjustment for the other clinical factors, the rate attributable to the use of the drug regimens would rise to 12.4-13.4%. While only 0.3 percent of patients in the control group had the problem, 6.1 percent of the patients treated with hydroxychloroquine developed a heart arrhythmia, and the rate was 8.1 percent for the group treated with hydroxychloroquine combined with an antibiotic.

But the problem is that, while researchers can control for risk factors that they know about, they can't rule out that patients getting chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are dying for reasons they don't understand that have nothing to do with the drugs.

The authors said they could not confirm whether taking the drug resulted in any benefit in coronavirus patients. For those who received hydroxychloroquine, it was 18%; when an antibiotic was added, it was more than 20%.

The analysis included data from 671 hospitals across six continents, which pooled together resulted in 96,032 patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 and were hospitalized between December 2019 and April 2020.

Earlier this week it was announced that a trial to see whether the drugs could prevent Covid-19 had begun in Brighton and Oxford.

There was a rush to use the drug in Covid-19 cases after the French doctor Didier Raoult said he was curing his patients at La Timone hospital, in Marseille.

Again, that can only come from randomized controlled studies.Hydroxychloroquine use spiked dramatically after the drug was embraced by President Trump, who on Monday said that he himself was taking the drug, and commentators on Fox News. A study of 368 US veterans also showed that the drugs might be potentially harmful.

- A 45% increase in risk of death for those given hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic, and a 411% increase in risk of serious heart arrhythmias.

Trump's endorsement has led many people to take the medications without scientific proof of their benefit.

Britain has ordered $42 million worth of hydroxychloroquine, despite numerous studies showing it is ineffective in treating Covid-19 and may even be more risky than doing nothing.



Other news