To begin with, even the National Review has to admit:
“It’s also possible that Trump is hopeful about hydroxychloroquine because he thinks it will help his reelection.”
Besides possibly being hyped for political purposes, kind of like the latest diet fad – how many of those have we seen come and go, or go wrong like the fen-phen combination that turned out to do heart damage? – the adults in the room are just pointing out that the evidence for it working is very mixed and its effectiveness limited at best, particularly when the very real side effects are taken into account:
‘“The data are really just, at best, suggestive,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS’s Face the Nation on April 5. “There have been cases that show there may be an effect, and there are others to show there’s no effect. So I think, in terms of science, I don’t think we could definitively say it works.”’
The evidence for using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 is flimsy:
Mayo Clinic cardiologist: ‘Inexcusable’ to ignore hydroxychloroquine side effects:
What Are the Results?
Reports I’m seeing from scientific and medical sources, give us a better idea of what is going on.
56 New York Hospitals Now Treat COVID-19 Patients with Anti-malaria Drug; New Evidence Shows It’s Ineffective:
There’s this new study in preprint from trials at NYU Langone, apparently the hub of hydroxychloroquine research in NYC, about the significant adverse effects of cardiac arrhythmia and the development of acute renal failure in COVID-19 patients. The severe arrhythmia rate for patients given hydroxychloroquine combination therapy was 11%:
Apparently foreign hospitals that have been trying the drugs longer, are running into those and other side effects, along with unimpressive results of effectiveness.
* FRENCH HOSPITAL STOPS HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE TREATMENT FOR COVID-19 PATIENT OVER MAJOR CARDIAC RISK:
Swedish hospitals abandon trial of promising malaria drug chloroquine for coronavirus patients after it caused them blinding headaches, vision loss, and agonising cramps:
A Forbes article addresses the issue of whether single-case anecodotes, as in the headline of this piece, or small and ad-hoc studies, really tell us anything useful:
‘How has it worked, to date? With only a few small studies to guide treatment, or even identify those who might most benefit, hospitals have reported mixed results.
Even when COVID-19 patients recover, it’s difficult to know whether they would have done so without the medication.’
Hydroxychloroquine For COVID-19: Cure-All Or Flim-Flam?
There is No Ban on Chloroquinine
No, there wasn’t a “ban” like crank bloggers are claiming:
* Fact check: Trump-touted COVID treatment still available in Nevada, but only in hospitals
Even local Fox News understood there was nuance to what was going on:
‘Price gouging and hoarding is happening to more products than just masks and toilet paper. It’s why Sisolak put restrictions on two drugs that have been used to treat COVID-19: chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
“If you could give me a million doses or two million of hydroxychloroquine we could change things but we don’t have them. So that drug has to be used for people either on the malaria, lupus front or people that have it prescribed to them,” said Sisolak. ‘
Not Working as Promised
In Google News, the reports starting to come in don’t look so rosy:
Does hydroxychloroquine cure coronavirus? Trump and Cuomo have promoted hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus COVID-19 treatment. Does HCQ work for …
Anti-malaria drug shortage impacting Coloradans with auto-immune disorders
Doctors, as science-minded professionals, are open to experimentation, particularly in urgent or triage situations – that says nothing about “how effective they believe it is,” just that they think it might possibly be effective.
New Hampshire Gov. Limits Chloroquinine
In today’s news, New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu – son of John, White House Chief of Staff under President George H. W. Bush – has done largely the same thing that Nevada’s governor did:
Emergency Order in NH Limits Use of Hydroxychloroquine, Other Drugs
Chris Sununu limits hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine and albuterol due to shortage concerns. The order has exceptions for COVID-19 patients who are high risk …
Colton Underwood Tried Chloroquine
As far as anecdotal reports from public figures – for what they’re worth –
Like the Michigan woman, he has no idea whether the drug really helped or not, or whether, as with use of a placebo like sugar pills, he just would have gotten better anyway.
Mixed Reviews on Choloroquine
In the news, it turns out doctors actually working with patients in the field were half as optimistic about hydroxychloroquine:
‘This new survey completed by Sermo on March 27, 2020, reported 6,227 physicians in 30 countries found that 37 percent of those treating COVID-19 patients rated hydroxychloroquine as the “most effective therapy” from a list of 15 options.’
Meanwhile, those working most closely with the treatment are apparently realizing the drug’s downsides and limits:
* ‘No miraculous recovery’: Some ICU doctors say hydroxychloroquine isn’t helping sickest patients
And in hospitals in Europe where they’ve been using it longer, those problems are causing outright abandonment of the drug treatment:
* Side Effects Halt Use of Chloroquine Vs. COVID-19
As for that French study:
* Publisher of hydroxychloroquine study touted by Trump says the research didn’t meet its standards
* FRENCH HOSPITAL STOPS HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE TREATMENT FOR COVID-19 PATIENT OVER MAJOR CARDIAC RISK
A new French trial yielded different results:
* Small Trial Suggests Antimalarial Drugs Not Effective For Treating Coronavirus
From the author of the article:
‘I am a medicinal chemist who has specialized in discovery and development of antiviral drugs for the past 30 years, and I have been actively working on coronaviruses for the past seven.
I am among a number of researchers who are concerned that this drug has been given too much of a high priority before there is enough evidence to show it is indeed effective.
There are already other clinical studies that showed it is not effective against COVID-19 as well as several other viruses. And, more importantly, it can have dangerous side effects, as well as giving people false hope.
The latter has led to widespread shortages of hydroxychloroquine for patients who need it to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, the indications for which it was originally approved.’