An analysis of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients on six continents reveals those who received the antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump had a higher risk of death compared with those who did not take it.
The study was published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet and detailed in a report by The Washington Post. It found that those treated with hydroxychloroquine, or the closely related drug chloroquine, were more likely to develop an irregular heart rhythm that could lead to sudden cardiac death.
The Post noted the study is the largest analysis of the risk and benefits of treating those infected with the coronavirus with antimalarial drugs. The findings were based on an analysis of medical records and not a controlled study.
The new analysis was led by Mandeep Mehra, a Harvard Medical School professor, and colleagues at other institutions.
According to the Post, there was a 34% increase in the risk of mortality and a 137% increase in the risk of serious heart arrhythmias for those given hydroxychloroquine. And for those who received hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic, there was a 45% increased risk of death and a 411% increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias.
David Maron, director of preventive cardiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said that “these findings provide absolutely no reason for optimism that these drugs might be useful in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19."
Trump on Tuesday had defended his use of hydroxychloroquine telling reporters it “gives you an additional level of safety."
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