Dr. Gupta explains concerns over chloroquine 04:03 (CNN)Scientists around the world are continuing to study two drugs — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — for their potential as possible treatment approaches for illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Yet as new data emerge out of such research, so do some concerns about the efficacy and safety of the drugs when used to treat Covid-19. There have been early indications that these drugs may be effective in treating or preventing Covid-19, but the medications haven’t endured the due diligence of extensive clinical trials and there have been growing concerns about the impact chloroquine and the closely related hydroxychloroquine can have specifically on the heart. Now, a chloroquine trial in Brazil has been cut short, hospitals in Sweden have been cautioned against using the drugs for Covid-19 and American cardiology groups have urged doctors to be aware of ” potential serious implications ” when used for people with existing cardiovascular disease. The “safety profile” for chloroquine may differ from hydroxychloroquine overall but when it comes to the heart, there is no reason why one would be safer than another, said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia . Currently, there is no treatment for Covid-19 approved by the US Food and Drug Administration — but the agency has issued an emergency use authorization for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients hospitalized with Covid-19. “In a better world, if we weren’t so panicked about this virus, we would wait and see if this drug had some value other than the President declaring that it has some value,” Offit said. “If someone’s sick you can still hurt them.” The drug chloroquine is similar to hydroxychloroquine, but hydroxychloroquine has been called ” a less toxic derivative ” of chloroquine. “Hydroxychloroquine has been used at least in the more developed part of the world very extensively for the treatment of lupus and such and it’s much safer,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventative medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. 4 ways Trump was wrong about hydroxychloroquine studies World Health Organization officials on Monday said they “eagerly await” the outcomes of studies evaluating the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as possible Covid-19 treatment options, especially as the drugs already are being used “off label” to treat some patients in certain countries. “The medical and research community are really taking the potential of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine seriously,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday . Currently, “there is no evidence from randomized control trials that it works and clinicians have also been cautioned to look out for side effects of the drug to ensure that first we do no harm,” Ryan said. “We eagerly await the outcome of the trials that are underway.” A preliminary study out of Brazil […]

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