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Doctor’s Note: Hydroxychloroquine – will it cure you or kill you?

US President Donald Trump announced in the week that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against the coronavirus despite medical warnings against its general use.

Trump’s statement was met with shock from the medical world because the drug has not been proven to be effective against the coronavirus and, more so, has some very dangerous side effects.

An announcement like this is often a dangerous green light to Trump supporters and people who are wanting to try anything to assist reduce their risk of catching or developing complications from the coronavirus.

At least one American already died in March after taking chloroquine phosphate – usually wont to clean fish tanks – to undertake to avoid contracting the virus.

The man’s wife told US media that they learned about chloroquine – an identical drug to hydroxychloroquine – after watching a Trump press conference during which he promoted the utilization of the drug.

On Monday, Trump promoted the drug again. “I’m taking hydroxychloroquine,” he told reporters. “I’ve been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill a day .”

But hydroxychloroquine should only ever be taken when prescribed by a doctor and under close supervision.

The drug is most frequently wont to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis; a patient is started thereon only upon the recommendation of a specialist.

Treatment with hydroxychloroquine requires regular blood tests to see on a patient’s kidneys and liver because the drug can have adverse effects on both.

Mild side effects from the drug include headaches, dizziness, loose stools and stomach cramps.

However, there are much more serious side effects.

These can include permanent eye damage resulting in blindness; possibly fatal effects on your heart rhythm; deafness , low blood glucose , and permanent hair loss; and changes in mood, including depression and suicidal thoughts.

It also can be fatal in children if they accidentally swallow any amount and must absolutely be avoided by pregnant women because it are often passed on to the developing baby.

Hydroxychloroquine also can interact with many medications that are commonly wont to treat diabetes, heart problems and epilepsy.

The US Food and medicines Administration (FDA) is looking into clinical trials using hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for patients in hospital with severe coronavirus symptoms.

But so far, there has been no conclusive evidence of benefit, and their website states that up so far hydroxychloroquine “has not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19”.

In April, the FDA also said it had been “aware of reports of great cardiac rhythm problems” in patients with COVID-19 who were treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.

Despite Donald Trump’s boasts about using hydroxychloroquine, the overwhelming majority of doctors and scientists round the world would strongly advise against it – including me.

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