The World Health Organization (WHO) has suspended the use of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus citing safety fears – By Prudence Wanza
This comes after a recent medical study suggested that the drug could increase the risk of patients dying from covid-19. Health experts have also warned that it could cause heart problems.
Several countries had started using the drug on patients with severely ill with the disease but they will have to stop using it temporarily as a precaution.
The medical study conducted by a medical journal, The Lancet said there were no benefits to treating covid-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine adding that it might even increase the number of deaths among those in hospital with the disease.
In a report by the BBC, the study by Lancet involved 96,000 coronavirus patients, nearly 15,000 of whom were given hydroxychloroquine or a related form of chloroquine -either alone or with an antibiotic.
The study found that the patients were more likely to die in hospital and develop heart rhythm complications than other covid-19 patients in a comparison group.
The death rates of the treated groups were; hydroxychloroquine 18%. Chloroquine 16.4%, control group 9%. Those treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine in combination with antibiotics had an even higher death rate.
This led the researchers to the conclusion that hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside of clinical trials. Hydroxychloroquine is safe for malaria, and conditions like lupus or arthritis.