Drug touted by President Trump shows no benefit to COVID-19 patients in new study

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Despite President Trump’s claims that those infected with COVID-19 would have nothing to lose by trying Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a drug used for decades to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, the opposite turns out to be true in a new study.

According to a newly released French study, there is no evidence (nor statistical relevance) that HCQ actually helps patients infected with coronavirus and can actually put some patients at greater risk of respiratory failure. The study analyzed the medical records of 181 patients with COVID-19 who had developed pneumonia and required supplemental oxygen to help them breathe. Doctors administered HCQ to 84 of those patients within 48 hours of being admitted to the hospital and the other 97 did not.

The average age of the patients was 60 years old and 71% were men. Severity of illness and infection between the two groups were considered to be well balanced by medical professionals, thus ensuring the study was non-bias.

Outcome of the Study

The results of the study highlight the fact that taking HCQ for treatment of the coronavirus isn’t helpful and can actually cause side effects in patients that put them at greater risk of respiratory complications.

20.5% of patients in the HCQ group were transferred to the ICU or died within 7 days, compared with 22.1% in the no-HCQ group (16 vs 21 events). In terms of secondary outcomes, the group that was administered HCQ registered 3 deaths and the group that did not receive HCQ registered 4 deaths.

More importantly, taking HCQ to treat coronavirus and COVID-19 infections specifically showed a higher (27.7%) correlation of developing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) than those that were not administered or were not taking the drug (24.1%). ARDS is a type of respiratory failure which involves the rapid onset of widespread inflammation in the lungs and is reported to have a mortality rate between 30-40%, though there are a variety of other health factors that can influence those numbers.

“These results do not support the use of HCQ in patients hospitalised for documented SARSCoV-2-positive hypoxic pneumonia,” the study authors wrote.

While the world awaits new information on a potential vaccine for COVID-19, what we do know is using HCQ can actually do far more harm than good if used for any type of treatment of the disease – especially in the elderly and other at-risk populations.

 

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