Hydroxychloroquine is back in the news. I remember getting offered this drug every time I told a doctor that I was going to a tropical country. The travel warning sites regarding malaria never seem to distinguish between rainy season (mosquitoes and occasional malaria) and dry season (tourists). So I would show up to the destination with a bottle full of malaria pills and find that nobody had seen a mosquito for the past three months.
As of January 2020, the drug was safe for everyone who was going to travel to a tropical country to take as malaria prophylaxis. You could take it for five years before even beginning to look for a side effect, according to this official government site: “CDC has no limits on the use of hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of malaria. When hydroxychloroquine is used at higher doses for many years, a rare eye condition called retinopathy has occurred. People who take hydroxychloroquine for more than five years should get regular eye exams.”
Today, however, now that we have 65.4 years of experience with the drug instead of 65.1, it is recognized by scientists as a dangerous poison. “What to Know About the Malaria Drug Trump Says He Is Using” (nytimes, May 19):
Here are the facts on hydroxychloroquine, which the president has promoted to fight Covid-19 despite warnings from the F.D.A. that it can cause heart problems.
There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine can prevent coronavirus infection.
It is not safe for people who have abnormalities in their heart rhythms, eye problems involving the retina, or liver or kidney disease. Other possible side effects include nausea, diarrhea, mood changes and skin rashes.
The leaders of three professional societies in cardiology warned on April 8 in the journal Circulation that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could each cause dangerous disruptions in heart rhythm, and they wrote, “There are very limited data evaluating the safety of combination therapy.”
Now we know the truth!
Readers: Where do we stand on whether this drug has any effect on Covid-19? Is the science settled?