Coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine had higher risk of death, study shows

Coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine had higher risk of death, study shows

A new study shows coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 had a higher risk of death than those who weren't given the drug.

The study, published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet, also found that COVID-19 patients were more likely to develop arrhythmia if treated with hydroxychloroquine, or its closely related cousin chloroquine.

Arrhythmia can lead to a sudden cardiac death, the report said, but researchers did not associate the study’s fatalities with adverse cardiac affects.

Even though it’s only an observational study – not the gold standard double blind, randomized, controlled trials – experts say the enormous sample size makes it compelling.

The study comprises of 96,000 coronavirus patients from six different countries who were hospitalized between Dec. 20, 2019 and April 14, 2020. Nearly 15,000 patients were treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine alone or in combination with an antibiotic – similar to the cocktail President Donald Trump said he was taking Monday.

“This is a much, much larger sample size than has ever been reported in regards to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine,” said Dr. Matthew Heinz, hospitalist at Tucson Medical Center in Arizona. “The results are pretty compelling and fairly consistent.”

There was a 34% increase in risk of death for patients who were given hydroxychloroquine and that number jumped to 45% when antibiotics were introduced. Researchers found a 37% increased risk of death for those who were given chloroquine or an antibiotic combined with the drug.

Serious heart arrhythmias skyrocketed when either drug was given with antibiotics. Patients that took hydroxychloroquine had a 137% increased risk of arrhythmias compared to 411% increased risk when combined with an antibiotic.

“When you add azithromycin, it’s always worse,” Heinz said. “Cardiac death is something you can’t monitor for, you can’t detect.”

Hydroxychloroquine is an arthritis medicine that can also be used as a prevention or treatment of malaria, a red blood cell infection transmitted by a mosquito bite, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s available in the U.S. under prescription only. It can also be used to treat discoid lupus erythematosus and systemic lupus erythematosus.

President Trump told reporters during a roundtable discussion with restaurant executives at the White House on Monday that he’s been taking the drug for the past week and a half, along with zinc and an initial dose of the antibiotic azithromycin.

He tweeted his praise for the drug combination Thursday saying it has “a real chance to be one for the biggest game changers in the history of medicine."

Despite the Lancet study, Heinz doesn’t believe ongoing studies that continue to use the drug in clinical trials should be halted as they have safety monitor boards that can pull the plug if things go awry.

“This is science. COVID-19 isn't Democrat or Republican. It doesn’t get upset with tweets,” Heinz said. “We’re going to science our way through this (pandemic).”

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/05/22/covid-19-study-links-hydroxychloroquine-higher-risk-death/5244664002/

News Related

ORTHER NEWS

Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »