President Donald Trump speaks after exiting Air Force One at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pa., Thursday, May 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Associated Press
  • President Donald Trump Monday said on Monday that he has been taking the experimental drug hydroxychloroquine "every day" for a week and a half.
  • However, there is no clinical evidence so far that proves the drug is effective against Covid-19, and there are not yet any approved treatments or vaccines for the disease.
  • In April, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a clear-cut warning against the use of chloroquine or the derivative drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19, stating it posed a risk of heart rhythm problems.
  • In its guidance, the FDA said that hydroxychloroquine has "not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing Covid-19."
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

President Donald Trump Monday said on Monday that he has been taking the experimental drug hydroxychloroquine "every day" for a week and a half.

In April, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a clear-cut warning against the use of chloroquine or the derivative drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19, stating it posed a risk of heart problems.

During a Q&A with reporters, Trump said that he had consulted with the White House doctor, who then administered the medication. He went on to say that he had heard "very good things" about the drug and that every Covid-19 test he has taken has shown up negative.

Trump has previously touted hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus. The drug is often used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria as well as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and a few other conditions.

While large trials are underway, there is no clinical evidence so far that proves the drug is effective against Covid-19. There are not yet any approved treatments or vaccines for the disease.

The FDA, however, has warned about risks associated with using the drug off label.

"The FDA is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with Covid-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine," the notice said, mentioning that the drug can interact poorly with other medications, including the common antibiotic azithromycin.

It continued: "We are also aware of increased use of these medicines through outpatient prescriptions. Therefore, we would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. We will continue to investigate risks associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for Covid-19 and communicate publicly when we have more information."

On the effectiveness of the drug to treat Covid-19, the FDA said: "Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing Covid-19."

According to the FDA, the drug can cause "abnormal heart rhythms" along with "a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia."

These risks may increase when treated alongside other medications, including azithromycin, which the notice said was "being used in some Covid-19 patients without FDA approval." It added that patients with other health conditions like heart and kidney disease "are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines."

The FDA said that patients taking the medications to treat malaria or autoimmune conditions "should continue taking their medicine as prescribed," despite the risks associated.

"Be aware that there are no proven treatments for Covid-19 and no vaccine," the FDA stresses. "Do not buy these medicines from online pharmacies without a prescription from your health care professional."

Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Get the best of our site emailed to you daily: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: