The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a stern warning Friday that using the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine outside a hospital setting, and without medical supervision, could have potentially deadly consequences. The FDA said that there could be “serious heart-related adverse events and death" in patients who take the drugs to treat COVID-19.
"While clinical trials are ongoing to determine the safety and effectiveness of these drugs for COVID-19, there are known side effects of these medications that should be considered," said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, according to Digital Trends. "We encourage healthcare professionals making individual patient decisions to closely monitor those patients to help mitigate those risks."
After President Donald Trump's announcement that the drugs had the potential to work as a treatment for the disease, social media went into overdrive, touting hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as cures. While they are effective in treating malaria and autoimmune diseases, there is no scientific evidence that they are effective in treating the coronavirus, and a Mayo Clinic cardiologist sounded the alarm that these drugs can be deadly.
According to NBC News, Dr. Michael Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist and the director of the Mayo Clinic's Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic, called the promotion of these drugs to treat COVID-19 without signaling the potentially fatal side effects "inexcusable." He and his colleagues developed protocols to help physicians more safely prescribe the medicines by identifying patients at the greatest risk for drug-induced cardiac death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its information about the drugs and removed its recommendation for dosage, citing a lack of scientific evidence, says Digital Trends.
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