Coronavirus Information Center

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - APRIL 10: In this photo illustration, a box and tablets on a blister pack of Plaquinol (Hydroxychloroquine) are displayed on April 10, 2020 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Controversial hydroxychloroquine is being suggested as a potential medication that could treat the Coronavirus pandemic in Brazil. According to the Ministry of health, as of today, Brazil has 19,638 confirmed cases infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) an at least 1057 recorded fatalities. (Photo illustration by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

A study of hospitalized coronavirus patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine found an increased risk of death, according to Fox News. Fox cites a study by The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most well known medical journals.

The study focused on exploring the use of hydroxychloroquine and other drug called chloroquine, both alone and in combination,  in patients diagnosed with COVID-19. While the drugs are deemed generally safe when prescribed for patients with malaria or an autoimmune disease, little is known about the potential effects they may have in COVID-19 patients. Hydroxychloroquine is generally used to fight malaria, as well as arthritis, according to the CDC.

The drugs have been touted by some as a possible cure for coronavirus; however, the researchers concluded that they were unable to “confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine… on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19.”

“Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for [the] treatment of COVID-19,” they wrote.

However, an article in Science News called “Politics Aside, Hydroxychloroquine Could (Maybe) Help Fight COVID-19” reports on studies that are trying to learn if the drug could prevent infection, or if it could prevent the illness from getting worse. There were promising findings there, and the article also points out one other positive about hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine: namely, that they are currently available. The article also notes that the drugs can be dangerous for some people, such as those prone to heart problems, or when taken in combination with other drugs that can alter heart rhythms. It further says, “Doctors and researchers worry that based on the president’s endorsement, people will take the medications without medical supervision and could do harm to themselves.” Of course, no medication should be taken without medical supervision.

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