Drug touted by Trump as COVID-19 treatment tied to increased risk of death - study

By Michael Erman and Ankur Banerjee (Reuters) - The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which U.S. President Donald Trump says he has been taking and has urged others to use, was tied to increased risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to a large study published in the medical journal Lancet. In the study https://www.thelancet.com/lancet/article/s0140673620311806 that looked at over 96,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19, those treated with hydroxychloroquine or the related chloroquine had higher risk of death than patients who were not given the medicines.

Reuters May 23, 2020 02:10:45 IST
Drug touted by Trump as COVID-19 treatment tied to increased risk of death - study

COVID-19 treatment tied to increased risk of death - study" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/05-2020/23/2020-05-22T141629Z_1_LYNXMPEG4L1EY_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA-TRUMP.jpg" alt="Drug touted by Trump as COVID19 treatment tied to increased risk of death study" width="300" height="225" />

By Michael Erman and Ankur Banerjee

(Reuters) - The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which U.S. President Donald Trump says he has been taking and has urged others to use, was tied to increased risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to a large study published in the medical journal Lancet.

In the study https://www.thelancet.com/lancet/article/s0140673620311806 that looked at over 96,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 , those treated with hydroxychloroquine or the related chloroquine had higher risk of death than patients who were not given the medicines.

The authors said they could not confirm whether taking the drug resulted in any benefit in coronavirus patients.

"Urgent confirmation from randomized clinical trials is needed," they wrote. This study was not a placebo-controlled trial.

Hospitalized patients tend to have a more severe version of COVID-19 . Some proponents of the drugs as treatments for the disease argue that they may need to be administered at an earlier stage in order to be effective.

There are ongoing randomized, controlled clinical trials to study the drug's effectiveness in preventing infection by the new coronavirus as well as treating mild to moderate COVID-19 . Some of those trials may yield results within weeks.

Demand for decades-old hydroxychloroquine has surged as Trump repeatedly pushed for its use against the coronavirus , urging people to try it. "What have you got to lose," he said.

This week, Trump said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative medicine, despite a lack of scientific evidence.

The Lancet study authors suggested the medicines should not be used to treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials until those studies confirm their safety and efficacy for COVID-19 patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said hydroxychloroquine should only be used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients or those in clinical trials. The drug has been tied to dangerous heart rhythm problems.

The Lancet study looked at data from 671 hospitals, where 14,888 patients were given either hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, with or without an antibiotic, and 81,144 patients who were not treated with those drugs.

Both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have shown evidence of being effective against the coronavirus in a lab setting, but studies of the drugs in patients have proven inconclusive at best.

Several small studies in Europe and China spurred interest in using hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19 , but were criticized for lacking scientific rigor.

Several more recent studies have not shown the drug to be an effective treatment for the disease. Last week, two studies published in the medical journal BMJ showed that patients given hydroxychloroquine did not improve significantly over those who were not.

In addition to malaria, hydroxychloroquine is used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Bill Berkrot and Jonathan Oatis)

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

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

GameStop to capitalize on 'stonks' rally with $1 billion stock sale plan
Business

GameStop to capitalize on 'stonks' rally with $1 billion stock sale plan

By Uday Sampath Kumar and Joshua Franklin (Reuters) - GameStop Corp on Monday increased the value of new stock it may sell from $100 million to $1 billion, as the U.S.

Gold flat as weak dollar counters rally in stocks
Business

Gold flat as weak dollar counters rally in stocks

By Shreyansi Singh (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed on Monday as a softer dollar countered pressure from gains on Wall Street driven by hopes for a swift economic recovery following strong U.S. jobs data

Russia extends punitive Twitter slowdown until mid-May
Business

Russia extends punitive Twitter slowdown until mid-May

By Tom Balmforth and Alexander Marrow MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday it would extend a punitive slowdown of Twitter until May 15, though it acknowledged the U.S. social media company had speeded up deletion of what Moscow calls banned content. Moscow has traditionally taken a more hands-off role in policing the internet than neighbouring China.