President Trump’s use of malaria drug sparks conversation about side effects


Local health officials said hydroxychloroquine has not been recommended as a way of preventing anyone from catching the virus

COVID, Coronavirus, Lab Testing, Research

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – President Trump’s announcement Monday that he’s been using a malaria drug to ward off COVID-19 has renewed debate over the use of hydroxychloroquine.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients, it also warned the drug can have some potentially dangerous side effects.

In an alert, regulators flagged reports of sometimes deadly heart side effects among coronavirus patients taking hydroxychloroquine or the related drug chloroquine. The decades-old drugs, also prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause a number of side effects, including heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage.

Local health officials said it has not been recommended as a way of preventing anyone from catching the virus.

“It is occasionally used but there’s…some articles in the literature are saying there’s benefit and others are saying there’s not benefits. So it’s really an individualized approach,” Dr. James Kravec said.

The president said he’s been taking the drug, which is available only through a prescription, along with zinc after consulting his own physician.

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