Recently, a new study, whose findings appear in the British Journal of Pharmacology, looks at the impact of taking the anti-malarial drug chloroquine on the heart health as well as the overall body and shows a way to avoid chloroquine poisoning.
The primary reason for this research was to examine the potential treatments for the coronavirus infection, which has now infected over five million people around the world and is causing more and more deaths every day.
In the past few months, scientists have assessed various options and drugs for the control and treatment of COVID-19. However, there are very few clinical trials that have reported the benefits of using the drug under examination for coronavirus infection.
The use of chloroquine for coronavirus was expected to be the ultimate ‘miracle’ cure by the vast majority of the population of the world since the drug was popularized by many government officials and even the president of the US and Brazil.
However, the majority of the trials testing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine did not show any positive effects for coronavirus patients. Some even showed that the usage of the drugs worsened the condition of the patient and those who received the standard treatment improved faster and better in comparison.
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In addition, a clinical trial from brazil that tested the effects of different doses of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on coronavirus patients was called off after the scientists reported that the patients developed heart-related problems.
Chloroquine is originally a drug used for the treatment of health conditions including malaria. Heart problems including arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat is a well-known side effect of both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
This is why health experts recommend using the drug only when it is prescribed by a certified health professional for an associated health condition.
At the same time, anti-malarial medicines are still being recommended for prevention purposes in many of the countries but only when they are given by the doctor. Otherwise, the use of chloroquine for coronavirus is not suggested by the World Health Organization.
For the management of the side effects associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, researchers are looking at other drugs to protect the health of the heart and avoid chloroquine poisoning.
New researchers conducted by Professor Dyfrig Hughes highlights important mechanisms for the management of adverse effects associated with chloroquine on the heart.
The study suggests that effects such as arrhythmia can be avoided by using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine along with a drug known as diazepam. Currently, many health care workers are already using diazepam for the protection of heart health in coronavirus patients taking chloroquine.
However, it was not previously known whether the use of diazepam is actually effecting in avoiding arrhythmia. According to research by Professor Hughes, the diazepam alone does not prevent the development of heart-related issues caused by anti-malarial drugs.
Instead, when diazepam is used in combination with a drug known as adrenaline, which was also used in the past with chloroquine for the management of heart-related issues.
Hence, the use of both adrenaline and diazepam along with chloroquine improved and protected cardiac function in coronavirus patients. Therefore, they can be prescribed and used in patients.
Though researchers are investigating ways to avoid chloroquine’s harmful effects on the heart when used for coronavirus, it still does not mean that any of the mentioned medicines can be taken without consultation with a doctor.
Do not use chloroquine, adrenaline, or diazepam for the prevention or treatment of coronavirus infection at home. In case any symptoms of coronavirus infection appear, visit a coronavirus health facility as soon as possible.