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5 things you need to know about Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19

“Hydroxychloroquine is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD)1 with a chemical structure very similar to that of chloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine is indicated for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) and before the release of newer agents was also used for the prevention and treatment of malaria.” It has been around for a long time but is being investigated for the use in COVID-19.

In the news, you may have heard of Chloroquine but this drug is not available in Australia – but touted widely to be a possible treatment in the USA.

Researchers are studying Hydroxychloroquine to see if it can treat or prevent the cytokine storm in COVID-19.

  1. Hydroxychloroquine is being trialled to treat the cytokine storm but there is no safety data available for the use in COVID-19. It is being offered as the best bet so far in the attempt to treat patients severely affected by COVID-19.
  2. It can cause a prolonged QT interval that can lead to arrhythmia and ventricular tachycardia
  3. The drug has a number of common side effects – nausea, vomiting, anorexia, abdominal cramps, rash, itch, alopecia and headache. As well as anecdotal reports of severe hypoglycaemia
  4. Toxicity occurs with prolonged exposure leading to retinopathy, cardiac toxicity, and neuromyopathy
  5. At present, there is limited data to support the use of Hydroxychloroquine and trial results remain inconclusive.

The information to support this summary was provided bt NPS MedicineWise and the full article can be found here>>

There is also a great podcast that you might be interested in below on Hydroxychloroquine.