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Taking hydroxychloroquine be more harmful than helpful?


Could taking hydroxychloroquine be more harmful than helpful?
While the Lancet study has seen some hydroxychloroquine harmful for the body system.'

People taking hydroxychloroquine to fight Covid_19 may be more likely to die, according to Science. But that doesn't mean the drug is killing them.'

 The  lancet cast fresh controversy on the use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID_19."

The study's authors reported they were "unable to confirm a benefit" of using hydroxychloroquine, while also finding COVID  patients in hospital treated with hydroxychloroquine were more likely to die or suffer life-threatening heart complications.'

The publication prompted the World Health Organisation to suspend its testing of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus, while a similar Australian trial has paused recruitment.'

A bit of background...

Hydroxychloroquine has been used since the 1940s to treat malaria, but has been making headlines as a potential treatment for Coronavirus. US President "Donald Trump" recently declared he was taking it daily, while Australian businessman and politician Clive Palmer pledged to create a national stockpile of the drug.'

The drug alters the immune system of humam's body (it's an immunomodulator, not an immunosuppressant) and has an important role in helping people with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.'

Hydroxychloroquine has a range of serious possible side-effects, including eye damage and altered heart rhythm, which require monitoring..

Laboratory studies suggest hydroxychloroquine may disrupt replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Coronavirus'. It's also possible hydroxychloroquine could reduce "cytokine storm"  the  immune system overreaction that happens in some people with severe Coronavirus'...

A huge global effort is underway to investigate whether hydroxychloroquine is safe and effective for preventing or treating Coronavirus, especially to improve recovery and reduce the risk of death'. studied have been inconclusive as they were anecdotal, observational or small randomised trials.'.

Doubts about hydroxychloroquine's effectiveness have been increasing daily basis with a large observational study from New York showing it had no benefit in treating people with Coronavirus'.

The new research study last week, has found it could increase the risk of death among Coronavirus's patients in hospital.'.

What did the new study do????

The Lancet study collected real-world data on more than 96,000 hospitalised patients with coronavirus from more than 600 hospitals across six continents..'

About 15,000 patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine or a closely related drug, or in combination with an antibiotic.'

Using a global registry the researchers investigated the safety of these treatments.' They looked at whether people died in hospital, as well as the risk of developing life-threatening heart rhythm problems called ventricular arrhythmias'.

What did the study find???

Treatment with hydroxychloroquine was associated with increased rates of death in people with Coronavirus, even after the researchers adjusted for other factors such as age, other health conditions, suppressed immune system, smoking, and severity of the COVID-19 infection) that might increase the risk of death.'

About 18% of people who received hydroxychloroquine died in hospital, compared with 9% of people with Coronavirus, who did not receive these treatments.' The risk of death was even higher (24%) in people receiving hydroxychloroquine in combination with either of the antibiotics azithromycin or clarithromycin.'

Hydroxychloroquine (6%) and chloroquine (4%) treatment was also associated with more cases of dangerous heart problems when compared with untreated people with COVID-19 (0.3%).'

Any evidence of benefit, while not the focus of this study, was unclear.'

How can we interpret the results???

This was an observational study, so it can only explore the association between treatments and death  rather than telling us hydroxychloroquine caused these patients to die.'

It is unclear why the death rate for patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine was double that of those who were not as the cause of death was not reported in this study.'

Importantly, the study could not account for all the factors that might contribute to death in these hospitalised patients and how these factors interact with each other.' moreover, the researchers did a good job of matching the characteristics of people who were receiving hydroxychloroquine with those who were not receiving the drug, which makes the results more reliable.'

Broader implications.......

This study provides important information about the safety of hydroxychloroquine in treating vulnerable people with COVID_19 receiving hospital care."

While the implications for using hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus in the community or for prevention of the pandemic disease remain unclear, if nothing else this study highlights the need to carefully monitor people receiving the drug.'

Some  trials are continuing, such as the very large RECOVERY trial in the UK.'

This new information must be considered when balancing harm and potential benefit of these trials and will likely result in renewed safety monitoring.'

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