Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) which is a medication sold under the brand name Plaquenil is used for the treatment of malaria. But in recent times it has gained popularity over an unproven rumor that it is a viable treatment for the Coronavirus. But is it really so?
Let’s get this cleared
Firstly I went over to WHO’s official site on coronavirus
Now in this Q/A on Coronavirus, there is a question
“ Is there a vaccine, drug, or treatment for COVID-19?”
The answer is as follows.
“Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illnesses should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. “
So officially WHO doesn’t mention the Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) as a treatment for the Coronavirus.
So why is the hydroxychloroquine seen as a potential treatment?
We will get into that, but
let’s get some information on the Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as I said before is used for the treatment of malaria and other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda.
It is generally taken orally as a tablet.
It was declared as the safest and most effective medicines needed by WHO ’s list of Essential Medicines.
In 2017 it was also the 128th most prescribed medication in the USA.
There are some common side effects to this drug like
changes in vision,
some severe cases can also have allergic reactions.
Cardiac Effects, including Cardiomyopathy and QT prolongation: Postmarketing cases of life-threatening and fatal cardiomyopathy have been reported with the use of PLAQUENIL as well as with use of chloroquine. Patients may present with atrioventricular block, pulmonary hypertension, sick sinus syndrome, or with cardiac complications. ECG findings may include atrioventricular, right, or left bundle branch block. Signs or symptoms of cardiac compromise have appeared during acute and chronic treatment. Clinical monitoring for signs and symptoms of cardiomyopathy is advised, including use of appropriate diagnostic tools such as ECG to monitor patients for cardiomyopathy during PLAQUENIL therapy. Chronic toxicity should be considered when conduction disorders (bundle branch block/atrioventricular heart block) or biventricular hypertrophy are diagnosed. If cardiotoxicity is suspected, prompt discontinuation of PLAQUENIL may prevent life-threatening complications. PLAQUENIL prolongs the QT interval. Ventricular arrhythmias and torsades de pointes have been reported in patients taking PLAQUENIL. Therefore, PLAQUENIL should not be administered with other drugs that have the potential to prolong the QT interval.
That’s all we needed to know about the Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).
Now lets’s discuss
Why’s it is being studied as an experimental treatment for the coronavirus disease.?
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been used as a treatment for malaria for over 70 years and seemingly it appears to be able to block viruses from binding to the human cell and getting inside them to replicate.It might also be able to stimulate the immune system. According to reports this drug chloroquine has been proved effective during combating SARS-CoV-2. Chinese studies from Guangdong have also reported that Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) improved patient outcomes and possibly might improve the success rate of treatment and shorten the hospital stay.
With all that we can conclude that based on previous records and studies the Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can possibly improve the condition of a coronavirus victim(Side effects to be kept in mind) but it is still not proved as the official treatment, but tests are being carried out as it’s considered as the potential treatment for COVID-19.
The US FDA has granted “emergency use” authorization for this drug and in India also health ministry has recommended the use of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a preventive treatment for healthcare workers and people who are working in direct contact with confirmed Coronavirus Cases.
Hopefully we get to see the ultimate treatment to this deadly virus.After reading this article do let me know your thoughts by commenting below and also if you are a doctor do comment with your views on Plaquenil Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).