After the President of the United States, Donald Trump, said he was taking hydroxychloroquine, curiosity about this drug has increased, despite public health officials having said that this is not an appropriate or recommended procedure. This Friday, an article from the magazine “Lancet” seems to give reason to skeptics and the warning is even more serious: in severe cases of covid-19, the administration of any of these drugs worsened the physical condition of the patients, causing even death in some cases, according to investigators.
The analysis sample is significant: 96,000 patients from 671 hospitals. All were hospitalized between late December and mid-April, and about 15,000 were treated with these two antimalarial drugs, or with one combined with an antibiotic.
These treatments, the study shows, are associated with a higher risk of death. One in six patients undergoing treatments with chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (without antibiotics) died, while in the group that did not take the drugs, deaths are 1 in 11. Among those who were taking chloroquine and antibiotics, this ratio goes to 1 in every 5 and nearly 1 in 4 treated with hydroxychloroquine together with an antibiotic died.
“Previous small-scale studies have failed to identify robust evidence of the benefit of these drugs. What we now know, after this study, is that the chances that a patient will improve after taking them are very small,” he said, quoted by CNN, Frank Ruschitzka, director of the Cardiology Center at the Zurich University Hospital and co-author of the study.
This study also shows that severe cardiac arrhythmias were more common among patients who received any of the four treatments. The biggest increase was between the group treated with hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic – 8% of these patients developed cardiac arrhythmia, compared with 0.3% of the group of 81,000 people who did not undergo any treatment with these substances.