Tags: Coronavirus | coronavirus | covid19 | lupus | drugs

Coronavirus Hopes Have Lupus Patients Hurting for Meds

the word lupus surrounded by pills
 (Natal'ya Buzuevskaya/Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 23 March 2020 08:30 PM

Along with hope for a treatment for COVID-19 comes the unintended consequence of a scarcity of life-saving drugs for lupus patients, CBS News reports.

The drug hydroxychloroquine is one of three President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have touted as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus. Cuomo announced over the weekend his state is beginning clinical trials on three drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, beginning Tuesday.

In addition to lupus, hydroxychloroquine can be used to treat malaria, and it is because of that association that it is being tested.

But that is little comfort to lupus patients who are now finding their prescriptions difficult to fill as the drug needed to keep them alive is being used to treat the virus that has shown up in the United States after first being discovered in the Wuhan area of China late last year and is now afflicting the world.

According to CBS, people are stockpiling the drug, which has not proved to be effective against coronavirus.

At a recent press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, was asked about Trump touting the drug's effectiveness in treating COVID-19.

Fauci called the cases "anecdotal," but said they did offer hope. He cautioned, however, that new treatments needed to be tested to ensure they did not cause unintended harm when used for a new purpose.

Science magazine reported "In guidance published on Friday, the US Society of Critical Care Medicine said that 'there is insufficient evidence to issue a recommendation on the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine in critically ill adults with COVID-19,'" adding that hydroxychloroquine can sometimes affect the heart. That could be a problem for some vulnerable COVID-19 patients.

"We are actively working with our medical and scientific advisors, other patient groups, partners, and the federal government to take steps that ensure people with lupus will be protected from a disruption in access to critical medications," the Lupus Foundation of America said in a statement. It added that "hospitals and clinics that treat people with lupus also are working to ensure that those with existing prescriptions will be able to continue their course of treatment."

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Hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for lupus that may hold some hope for treating COVID-19, can be used to treat malaria, and it is because of that association that it is being tested.
coronavirus, covid19, lupus, drugs
Monday, 23 March 2020 08:30 PM
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