A study of nearly 100,000 coronavirus patients has shown no benefit in treating them with anti-viral drugs hydroxychloroquine
Hydroxychloroquine is commonly used to treat arthritis but pronouncement from public figures including US President Trump who announced this week he is taking the drug has prompted governments to bulk buy the medicine.
Chloroquine is an anti-malarial. Both drugs can produce potentially serious side effects, particularly heart arrhythmia.
And neither drug benefitted patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a study published on Friday in The Lancet.
Analyzing the records of 96,000 cases across hundreds of hospitals, they found that giving the drugs actually increased the risk of dying.
More than 27 percent of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine died, and 22 percent of those treated with the combination therapy died, compared with an 11.4 percent death rate in those not treated with the drugs, the study said.
The authors estimated that the drugs put patients at up to 45 percent higher risk of dying from COVID-19 compared with underlying health issues.
“Treatment with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine does not benefit patients with COVID-19,” said Mandeep Mehra, lead author of the study and executive director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Advanced Heart Disease in Boston.
“Instead, our findings suggest it may be associated with an increased risk of serious heart problems and increased risk of death.”