A new study on the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, suggests the use of the drug as coronavirus treatment may lead to high death risks for COVID-19 patients.
The new medical study, published by The Lancet on Friday, finds the heightened risk of arrhythmias, abnormal heartbeats, more common in coronavirus patients who had been treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.
Increased arrhythmias leave patients with a higher risk of going into cardiac arrest, according to The Hill.
The study, which is categorized as a retrospective analysis focusing on 96,000 patients in 671 across six continents, is the largest analysis, thus far. A total of 15,000 of the 96,000 patients were reportedly treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine within 48 hours of being diagnosed with coronavirus.
Although the Lancet study was not a randomized clinical study, which is normally seen as a scientific limitation on findings, Jesse Goodman, a former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief scientist insists the current results are still important.
“I think it’s as convincing as this kind of study can be,” Goodman said.
“In the light of these results, I think it’s fair to say it’s not looking good for a benefit of these drugs,” Goodman said. “And there’s accumulating evidence that they may actually be harmful, and a lot of people may end up being harmed by their widespread use.”
However, there are others who oppose the findings, arguing that the study does not provide definitive results on the use of the drug.
“It means that the likelihood that it’s a dramatic cure, or substantially improves outcomes, is very low,” said Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The latest study on hydroxychloroquine follows President Donald Trump’s touting of the drug and his admission to taking the drug as a preventative measure for coronavirus.
During a recent round-table discussion, the president admitted he had been taking the drug for more than a week, as previously reported on IJR.
Despite the president’s continued touting of hydroxychloroquine, the FDA, CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and other global health experts have warned against using the unproven drug as a treatment for coronavirus.