President Trump said at a roundtable Monday that he’s been taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement for “about a week and a half” as a preventative measure against the coronavirus.
“I’m taking hydroxychloroquine,” President Trump said Monday.
“I asked [the White House doctor], what do you think? He said if you’d like it. I said yeah, I’d like it,” President Trump continued.
“A lot of front-line workers are taking hydroxychloroquine. I don’t take it because — hey, people said oh maybe he owns the company. No, I don’t own the company. I want the people of this nation to feel good. I don’t want them being sick. And there is a very good chance that this has an impact, especially early on.”
“But you look at front-line workers. You look at doctors and nurses. A lot of them are taking it. As a preventative.”
“The FDA is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin and other QT prolonging medicines,” reads a warning on FDA.gov.
“We are also aware of increased use of these medicines through outpatient prescriptions.”
“Therefore, we would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. We will continue to investigate risks associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 and communicate publicly when we have more information.”
According to the FDA, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19.
There are ongoing studies in clinical trials for COVID-19 and the FDA has ‘authorized their temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic for treatment of the virus in hospitalized patients when clinical trials are not available, or participation is not feasible, through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).’
The medicines being used under the hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine EUA are supplied from the Strategic National Stockpile, the national repository of critical medical supplies to be used during public health emergencies. This safety communication reminds physicians and the public of risk information set out in the hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine healthcare provider fact sheets that were required by the EUA.
The FDA warns hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia. These risks may increase when these medicines are combined with other medicines known to prolong the QT interval, including the antibiotic azithromycin, which is also being used in some COVID-19 patients without FDA approval for this condition. Patients who also have other health issues such as heart and kidney disease are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines.
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