Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription medicine that was approved decades ago to treat malaria. It is also used to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It is sometimes referred to by its brand name, Plaquenil, and is closely related to chloroquine, which is also used to treat malaria.
There is no proof that Hydroxychloroquine can cure or prevent infection with the coronavirus. But in the face of an exploding pandemic with a frightening death toll, people are desperate for a bit of hope, a chance to believe there is something that will help.
Is there any danger in taking hydroxychloroquine?
Like every drug, it can have side effects. 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.
Some of the Top cardiologists worldwide had warned on April 8 in the journal Circulation that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin can each cause dangerous disruptions in heart rhythm, and they wrote, “There are very limited data evaluating the safety of combination therapy.”
If I can get hydroxychloroquine, should I take it to prevent coronavirus infection?
NO, especially not without consulting a doctor who knows your medical history and what other medications you are taking. There is no proof that it works. And if it is being sold on the street or via the internet, it may be fake or unsafe.
An Arizona, a man in his 60s died in march this year after swallowing an aquarium cleaning product that had chloroquine on its label. He and his wife, who also became critically ill, had thought the product would protect them from the virus.
At this point, the best way to avoid infection is to practice the social-distancing and quarantine measures recommended by public health authorities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that people wear cloth masks in public and wash their hands regularly.