Trump drug hydroxychloroquine raises death risk in Covid patients, study says

Henrietta Brewer
May 23, 2020

"Now is it that it's hydroxychloroquine that's causing the death, or is it the fact that sick patients are the ones that more frequently die of Covid-19?" "Randomised clinical trials are essential to confirm any harms or benefits associated with these agents".

Hydroxychloroquine has been widely used in America for the treatment of malaria, lupus and some other diseases upon prescription for more than six decades, however its utility for the treatment of coronavirus is at best unproven. They have also been shown to have antiviral effects in laboratory tests and are therefore of interest as potential treatments for COVID-19.

The risk of developing a serious heart rhythm problem is more than five times greater.

A CNN report stated that the researchers analysed data of over 96,000 COVID-19 from 671 hospitals. Of this population, 1,868 patients received chloroquine, 3,783 received chloroquine with a macrolide, 3,016 received hydroxychloroquine, and 6,221 received hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide.

While the science is still out on hydroxychloroquine's effectiveness, Magrini said: "We are fairly certain about the possible harm and absence of security of using it in some limited sub-groups of patients".

The death rate among all groups taking the drugs was higher than among people who were not given them.


The report further informed that 1 in 5 patients who were treated with chloroquine and an antibiotic died. The drug and its more toxic predecessor, chloroquine, are also linked to a unsafe heart condition.

The study accounted for several "confounding factors", like, age, sex, race or ethnicity, body-mass index.

The estimated excess risk attributable to the drug regimen rather than other factors, such as comorbidities, ranged from 34% to 35%.

The death rates of the treated groups were: hydroxychloroquine 18%; chloroquine 16.4%; control group 9%.

The study also found that serious cardiac arrhythmias were more common among patients who received either of the four treatments.

Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), with or without an antibiotic, in hospitalized COVID-19 patients were associated with increased risk of death in the hospital and higher rates of arrhythmias, analysis of outcomes in almost 100,000 patients indicated.


The results suggest these drugs are "not useful and may be harmful" in people hospitalized with COVID-19, professor Christian Funck-Brentano, of the Sorbonne University in Paris, wrote in a commentary published by the journal.

While the study found an increased risk of in-hospital mortality, the relationship between death and ventricular tachycardia, or the lower chambers of the heart beating quickly, wasn't studied, the doctors said.

"A Trump enemy statement", he said of one study.

A similar analysis in the U.S. found similar results.

Asked this week what evidence he had that the drug was effective in preventing COVID-19, Trump responded: "Are you ready?"

The doctors conducting the study were: Mandeep Mehra of Harvard Medical School, Sapan Desai of the Chicago-based Surgisphere Corporation, Frank Ruschitzka of University Heart Center at the University Hospital Zurich, and Amit Patel of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah. It was funded by the William Harvey Distinguished Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital.


Other reports by iNewsToday

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