Hydroxychloroquine is not such a good idea

Hydroxychloroquine as treatment for COVID-19

Humans have trouble grasping an essential fact about COVID-19: Nothing will be easy.

Once hailed as a wonder treatment, the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine is starting to look like not such a good idea.

New but not yet peer-reviewed research among 368 patients found the drug didn’t help patients and more patients who received it died than those who had standard care, AP reports.

The study released on the medRxiv preprint site analyzed records of male COVID-19 patients at Veterans Administration hospitals noted that 28% of those given hydroxychloroquine with usual care died versus 11% of those who received routine care alone.

A Science article explained yesterday that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can cause an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to cardiac arrest.

The veterans study follows a non-peer-reviewed Brazilian study released last week that was shut down after 11 hospital patients treated with chloroquine diphosphate “died of fatal arrhythmias or heart muscle damage,” Deutche Welle reports.

President Trump, who once touted hydroxychloroquine, has tamped down his rhetoric on the drug, according to Politico.

On another front, an American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene article questions doctors’ reliance on ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients. Their analysis finds that COVID-19 patients can tolerate low oxygen levels in the blood and that mechanical ventilation can harm the lungs of coronavirus patients, STAT reports.