The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned doctors not to prescribe the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine or the related drug chloroquine. The drugs are restricted for hospital and research uses only.
Regulators “flagged reports of sometimes fatal heart side effects among coronavirus patients” taking the drugs, according to the Associated Press. Other side-effects include heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure, and muscle or nerve damage.
“It is important that health care providers are aware of the risks of serious and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm problems that can occur with these drugs,” the FDA said in a statement after several early studies have suggested the drugs cause problems or yield no benefits.
The president has repeatedly advocated for the drug’s usage during press briefings and has even written tweets promoting the drug.
An Arizona man died and his wife was left in critical condition after they both ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks.
“Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” the woman toldNBC. “Don’t take anything. Don’t believe anything. Don’t believe anything that the president says and his people … call your doctor.”
Calls to U.S. poison control centers have increased last month to 79, compared to 52 in March 2019, accordingto Dr. Christopher Hoyte of the Rocky Mountain Poison Center in Denver, Colorado. Problems reported, Hoyte said, include abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, nausea and vomiting.
The president has faced significant criticism this week for suggesting people could get an “injection” of bleach to treat coronavirus.
“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” he said. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”
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