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While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) removed its dosage recommendations for hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that has been named as a potential treatment by President Trump and the White House coronavirus team, the president of the American College of Physicians advises caution. 

Speaking on CNN, Dr. Robert McLean advised that hydroxychloroquine should not be used before clinical trials shed more light on its effects, both positive and negative. 

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“The last thing we want” is people using and administering drugs without any supporting evidence, he said.  

McLean underscored the lack of data available to support hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment or cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. He further added that the existing data are unclear as to “who was benefiting” or what the dangers may be. Fueling the claims that the drug is a cure for COVID-19 will also likely result in supply issues. 

His ultimate advice is to “listen to the science.”

On March 31, the American College of Physicians released a statement providing guidance for physicians resorting to hydroxychloroquine for treatment, acknowledging that “Data to support the use of HCQ and CQ for COVID-19 are limited and inconclusive.”

Additionally, the statement confirmed that antimalarial drugs like hydroxychloroquine “can cause ventricular arrhythmias, QT prolongation, and other cardiac toxicity, which may pose particular risk to critically ill persons.”

When asked about President Trump’s advice to move forward and try the drug as a treatment, McLean said that “There is a concern when non doctors are giving medical advice” amid a lack of concrete data. 

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Published on Apr 08, 2020