SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The Food and Drug Administration on Friday warned consumers against taking malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus outside a hospital or formal clinical trial setting after “serious” poisoning and deaths were reported.
“The FDA is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin,” the FDA said in its official warning Friday. “We are also aware of the increased use of these medicines through outpatient prescriptions. Therefore, we would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.”
Patients taking the drugs for approved reasons such as malaria or to treat autoimmune conditions like Lupus, should continue taking their medicine as prescribed, the FDA said in its warning.
Last month, the FDA had issued an emergency use authorization for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients hospitalized with coronavirus, but notes that they have yet to be approved to prevent or treat it.
The anti-malarial drugs have been repeatedly touted by President Donald Trump.
Both drugs are in clinical trials examining their effectiveness in treating the coronavirus, but neither are proven treatments.
At this time there are still no proven treatments for coronavirus, which has infected nearly three million people worldwide and has killed nearly 50,000 people in the United States as of Friday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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