It has been pushed by right-wing media and Donald Trump, but in a large analysis of its use in veterans hospitals, there were more deaths among those who took hydroxychloroquine versus those who had standard care, according to the Associated Press.
“About 28% who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone. About 22% of those getting the drug plus azithromycin died too, but the difference between that group and usual care was not considered large enough to rule out other factors that could have affected survival.“
The AP writes that while the trial was not “rigorous,” 368 male veterans were tested. The drug has been used for years to treat and prevent malaria. It can also treat lupus and arthritis.
Researchers noted that hydroxychlorquine might have damaged other organs although the trial did not track side effects. The drug has long been known to alter heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death.
The AP notes, “earlier this month, scientists in Brazil stopped part of a hydroxychloroquine study after heart rhythm problems developed in one-quarter of people given the higher of two doses being tested.”
Politico writes that Trump and right-wing media have toned down their hyping of the drug recently. Politico writes, “Although Trump had repeatedly promoted the decades-old malaria drug since the early days of the disease’s outbreak in the United States, his public statements regarding hydroxychloroquine have diminished significantly over the past week for reasons that remain unclear.”