The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised not to use hydroxychloroquine for treating or avoiding any Covid-19 patient earlier this week. Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-inflammatory medicine that was previously assumed as a relieving medicine against the deadly coronavirus. Its use was much more popularized after former US President Donald Trump openly endorsed its usage.
Health experts from WHO believe that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help to prevent Covid-19 complications, hospitalizations, or death. They also believe that it may make the effects worse in the Covid-19 patients, instead of improving them.
This research expert panel has recommended not to use people who are not diagnosed with Covid-19 to prevent the infection, as it may never help. These recommendations are published in a peer-reviewed journal The BMJ.
These new recommendations are based on results obtained from six different studies which investigated over 6000 people, with or without direct exposure to the coronavirus. According to the panel, hydroxychloroquine doesn’t have any priority in Covid-19 research and the scientists should divert their attention to other promising drugs which may actually prevent the infection.
They also revealed that nearly 80 human trials are to enlist 100,000 individuals to further check the effects of hydroxychloroquine to be sure that there are any other health benefits or not.
Hydroxychloroquine is a medicine that typically treats malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. This medicine gained international fame after President Trump promoted it in the media. President Trump was diagnosed with the Covid-19 back in October and was on a monoclonal antibody treatment by the doctors from Walter Reed Medical Center.
Although some early patients showed some improvements after they were given hydroxychloroquine but there is no clear evidence that suggests that it is effective to relieve Covid-19 complications or prevent the infection. People who have never tried this medicine before and were considering using it to prevent Covid-19, are advised not to do it. Other people, who are prescribed by doctors to use hydroxychloroquine for lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can continue using it with or without pandemic.
Due to the misinformation on the Covid-19 pandemic, many people started using hydroxychloroquine which caused them complications as well as a market shortage for the medicine. This shortage was more problematic for people who actually needed this medicine. There is no equally efficient alternative of hydroxychloroquine that could be used when it is not available, such as during this Covid-19 pandemic. Hence WHO has requested people not to start using it hoping to ditch the virus because that’s not what this medicine do.
In March 2020, U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency authorization to the hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients. However, this authorization was withdrawn later in the month of June, after some studies revealed that this medicine is ineffective to help Covid-19 patients.
The regulatory body has already shared a warning on excessive and unnecessary use of hydroxychloroquine except when it is used in hospitals, by a certified doctor who finds it helpful to save a patient’s life. Self-medication of hydroxychloroquine is not recommended, in all cases.