NIH recommends against combining hydroxychloroquine with Z-Pak to treat COVID-19

NIH recommends against combining hydroxychloroquine with Z-Pak to treat COVID-19
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A panel of doctors and experts convened by the National Institutes of Health advised against combining two drugs that have been floated as possible cures for COVID-19, warning of potentially harmful effects. 

The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel advised against combining hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, and azithromycin, an antibiotic also known as 'Z-Pak,' outside of clinical trials. 

The panel said there is not enough clinical data to recommend either for or against the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19. 

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If hydroxychloroquine is used, clinicians should monitor patients for adverse effects, the panel said, especially heart problems. 

Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin has been promoted as a potential treatment for COVID-19 by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE, leading to shortages of both drugs. 

The drugs, "taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine," Trump tweeted last month. 

A small analysis of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Veterans Health Administration medical centers found that those who took hydroxychloroquine were more likely to die or need mechanical ventilation. 

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, analyzed only 368 patients but represented the largest look at the outcomes of COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine — with or without azithromycin, a common antibiotic — anywhere in the world.