U.S. FDA warns against malaria drugs Trump championed for COVID-19

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday cautioned against the use of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, touted by President Donald Trump, in COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals and clinical trials, citing risks of serious heart rhythm problems. The decades-old drug has been called a 'game changer' by Trump in the fight against the novel coronavirus and anecdotal reports that it may provide some benefit have spurred sales of the drug.

Reuters April 25, 2020 00:09:11 IST
U.S. FDA warns against malaria drugs Trump championed for COVID-19

US FDA warns against malaria drugs Trump championed for COVID19

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday cautioned against the use of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, touted by President Donald Trump, in COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals and clinical trials, citing risks of serious heart rhythm problems.

The decades-old drug has been called a "game changer" by Trump in the fight against the novel coronavirus and anecdotal reports that it may provide some benefit have spurred sales of the drug.

There is no evidence yet of the drugs' effect on the virus.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has no approved treatment or vaccine.

Within hours of Trump's initial endorsement on March 19, pharmaceutical supply chain experts reported shortages as doctors began prescribing hydroxychloroquine for themselves and their families. Patients have also pressured doctors to use the therapies widely touted by Trump and other supporters.

The FDA said on Friday it was aware of increased use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine through outpatient prescriptions and the drugs could cause abnormal heart rhythms and dangerously rapid heart rate. (https://bit.ly/3cHvepp)

The agency's announcement comes a day after the European Union's drug regulator warned of the side effects of the drugs, urging medical professionals to closely monitor patients on the medicines.

Hydroxychloroquine was also associated with potentially higher risk of death for patients at U.S. veterans hospitals, according to an analysis submitted for expert review earlier this week.

Rick Bright, the ousted director of a U.S. agency charged with developing drugs to fight the pandemic, said on Wednesday he was dismissed because he called for careful vetting of the therapies.

The FDA has allowed healthcare providers to use the drugs for COVID-19 through its emergency use authorization, but has not approved them to treat the disease.

The heart rhythm risks may increase when the medicines are combined with other drugs, such as antibiotic azithromycin, as well as in patients with existing heart and kidney disease, the agency said on Friday. (https://bit.ly/2Y1gE8b)

(Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.