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Hydroxychloroquine myths busted: What you need to know about the drug Trump is using

Hydroxychloroquine myths busted: What you need to know about the drug Trump is using

US President Donald Trump has declared that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off coronavirus, despite warnings from health officials that it may not be safe.

Hydroxychloroquine myths busted: What you need to know about the drug Trump is using

“I’m taking it for about a week and a half now and I’m still here, I’m still here,” he told reporters while speaking at the White House.

MiNDFOOD busts the myths that have emerged regarding the drug, largely due to the president touting it as an effective coronavirus treatment.

What is hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine is a medicine that can be used to prevent malaria. It is also used to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Is hydroxychloroquine proven to prevent and/or cure COVID-19?

No. There is no proof that hydroxychloroquine can fight off coronavirus. Despite Trump announcing that he has been taking the drug, it is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Is there any evidence to suggest hydroxychloroquine prevents COVID-19?

There have been a few studies that have suggested hydroxychloroquine could help COVID-19 patients, however these studies were small and had numerous other limitations, and therefore have not produced sufficient evidence that hydroxychloroquine can prevent coronavirus infection. 

Can taking hydroxychloroquine cause any harm?

Yes. Trump has previously claimed there is ‘nothing to lose’ by taking the drug, claiming it is “not going to hurt people”, but this is incorrect. If used innappropriately, hydroxychloroquine can have potentially severe side effects.

The US FDA has issued an advisory saying that hydroxychloroquine has “not been shown to be safe and effective” for treating coronavirus, citing reports that it can cause serious heart rhythm problems in COVID-19 patients. Other potentially harmful side effects include headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, weight loss and mood changes.

According to Australia’s Therapeutic Drugs Administration, the most severe side effects can include cardiac toxicity potentially leading to sudden heart attacks, irreversible eye damage and severe depletion of blood sugar potentially leading to coma.

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