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  • “I’m taking hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said, disclosing he’s “been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day.”

    “I’m taking hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said, disclosing he’s “been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day.” | Photo: AFP

Published 18 May 2020
Opinion

The FDA warned that the medicine could cause abnormal heart rhythms and dangerously rapid heart rate. 

United States President Donald Trump announced Monday he is taking malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as preventive medicine against the coronavirus despite medical warnings.

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“I’m taking hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said, disclosing he’s “been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day.”

On March 19, Trump started promoting the drug as a potential treatment based on a positive report about its use against the virus, but subsequent studies found that it was not helpful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about its use.

The FDA said it was aware of increased use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine through outpatient prescriptions and that the malaria drugs could cause abnormal heart rhythms and dangerously rapid heart rate. 

The agency also took note of the information from other research teams, such as the study presented in Marseille, France, which claimed that hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin had been successful in treated patients.

For them, studies like this lack veracity because they are too small or poorly designed to offer strong evidence of benefit, representing a high risk. Cases of poisoning have been reported in Nigeria and the U.S.

However, and according to White House physician Sean Conley, “after numerous discussions” both Trump and his doctor decided that the “potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” despite scientific evidence.

Meanwhile, and as states dump lockdown measures the U.S. continues to add cases. As of Monday there are over 1.5 million and more than 91,000 deaths. 

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