There is a plethora of information on the web about Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), also called Plaquenil, when it comes to the desperate search for something effective against Covid19. However, there is scant data about how HCQ works on the SARS Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV2) from peer-reviewed journals.
This web-link (below) references a very recent and relatively well conducted Chinese study, in which HCQ appears to shorten the course of the disease. However, it is difficult to tell if it also helps reduce severity or prevent progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). There were only 62 participants, which is not a sufficiently powerful study, but it is a start.
Some of the skeptics of HCQ state that the side effects are particularly problematic for those that are critically ill. And justifiably, like most drugs, there are some significant potential adverse effects, including heart arrhythmias. Despite these concerns, the limited data showed that there were only two mild reactions (a rash and a headache) among all of the participants in the Chinese study.
While acknowledging a need for large-scale clinical trials and other research to clarify the specific treatment mechanism and optimize the treatment plan, the authors of the study concluded that “considering that there is no better option at present, it is a promising practice to apply HCQ to COVID-19 under reasonable management.”
The US President has openly recommended HCQ use, which would be extremely premature under normal circumstances. However, given that we are in crisis mode, it very well may be a reasonable approach to employ, at least for those with more severe cases of Covid-19..
Below is a link to the Chinese study referenced above. Questions or comments are encouraged so that we can learn together as a community.
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Justin Groode MD | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC