ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When the pandemic first hit, talk about whether the drug, hydroxychloroquine could help treat coronavirus patients was front and center.
President Trump was a big supporter of the drug famously saying, "What have you got to lose?"
The Food and Drug Administration's website says hydroxychloroquine has not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19. Earlier this month, they released a summary of issues with the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19 including serious heart rhythm problems.
Late Monday night, the President started tweeting about the drug again and one of the videos he shared was removed by Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for spreading false information.
The President also retweeted an opinion article written by Yale Professor of Epidemiology, Dr. Harvey Risch who believes hydroxychloroquine should be used as a treatment option.
"You have to be very precise about how you view this. There's a class of people for whom it works very well and these are high risk people at the beginning of the illness when they first get sick," said Dr. Risch.
Dr. Risch says global studies have shown the drug works in patients over the age of sixty or with chronic conditions when given in the first few days of showing symptoms.
He added, "We already have physicians in the United States who have saved more than one thousand lives from doing this. We have physicians who do this day in day out treating high risk patients who are surviving with no deaths because the treatment works."
In a news release dated June 15, 2020, the FDA said:
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are both FDA-approved to treat or prevent malaria. Hydroxychloroquine is also approved to treat autoimmune conditions such as chronic discoid lupus erythematosus, systemic lupus erythematosus in adults, and rheumatoid arthritis. Both drugs have been prescribed for years to help patients with these debilitating, or even deadly, diseases, and FDA has determined that these drugs are safe and effective when used for these diseases in accordance with their FDA-approved labeling. Of note, FDA approved products may be prescribed by physicians for off-label uses if they determine it is appropriate for treating their patients, including during COVID.
Tampa General Hospital in participating in a hydroxychloroquine trial for healthcare workers.
A spokesperson with the study said anyone working in a healthcare setting includin doctors, custodians, ambulance drivers, etc. can sign up to be part of this research. Whether hydroxychloroquine can help prevent COVID-19 is one of the many questions the trial is looking to answer. The group is also planning vaccine trials. Any healthcare worker in Florida interested in signing up to be notified about trial opportunities can join at Heroesresearch.org.
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