Hydroxychloroquine no longer authorised by FDA to treat Covid-19

Hydroxychloroquine has received a lot of attention as a possible treatment for Covid-19, particularly due to Donald Trump promoting it and using it.

But the US Food and Drug Administration has revoked approval for its use for Covid.

Financial Times: US regulator ends emergency use of hydroxychloroquine for virus

The US regulator has revoked its emergency approval for hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that was lauded by US president Donald Trump and has been used to treat Covid-19 patients across the world.

Shortly after the pandemic engulfed the US, Mr Trump hailed hydroxychloroquine as a “game-changer” and played down its risks, saying at a press conference: “What do you have to lose?”

Later, he said he had taken the drug himself, trying it as a potential preventive measure to stop him developing Covid-19 after several White House officials had contracted the infection.

The Food and Drug Administration said new data from trials showed the drug did not improve the condition of patients or have an antiviral effect, so the benefits did not outweigh the risks.

Denise Hinton, chief scientist of the FDA, said that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a similar drug, were no longer authorised to treat Covid-19 patients, as of Monday.

“The FDA always underpins its decision-making with the most trustworthy, high-quality, up-to-date evidence available. We will continue to examine all of the emergency use authorizations the FDA has issued and make changes, as appropriate, based on emerging evidence,” she said in a statement.

In a letter to the director of medical countermeasures at another branch of the health department, she wrote that earlier observations that it decreased the shedding of the virus had not been consistently replicated — and recent data from a randomised clinical trial showed no difference between hydroxychloroquine and the “standard of care”: drugs usually used to treat hospitalised patients, such as those administered in intensive care.

It always seemed a long shot that hydroxychloroquine may be some sort of miracle treatment or cure. It may still be found to have some benefits, but I think that rushing into using unproven drug treatments is fairly silly and risky. Even drugs that work well usually have adverse side effects.

Meanwhile the worldwide number of Covid cases continues to increase, and while the death rate seems to have slowed total official deaths are now at 438,000 and likely to be under-reported.

And in the US relaxing lockdowns is still a contentious issue as case numbers surge in some states. See:

And while Trump Campaign Touts 1 Million Ticket Requests for Tulsa Rally the number of cases is also increasing there – see https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/