Hospitalized Coronavirus Patients On Antimalarial Drug At Higher Risk Of Death: Study

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Kaylee Greenlee Immigration and Extremism Reporter
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A recent academic study found that the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine has a negative impact on hospitalized coronavirus patients.

When given to patients, the drug was found to reduce in-hospital survival time and regularly caused abnormal heart beats, according to the study, which was originally published by the Lancet on May 22. It focused on a “multinational registry” of 96,032 patients who were hospitalized between Dec. 20, 2019 and April 14, 2020.

According to the study, 81,144 patients did not receive either drug while 14,888 patients received either hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine alone or accompanied with an antibiotic. Over 10,600 patients prescribed either medication died in the hospital.

The patients who were given only hydroxychloroquine faced a 34% higher possibility of death with a 137% higher risk of irregular heartbeat. Patients given the drug along with an antibiotic endured a 45% higher possibility of death with a 411% higher risk of irregular heart beat.

“It’s one thing not to have benefit, but this shows distinct harm, if there was ever hope for this drug, this is the death of it,” Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told the Washington Post.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval in March for hospitals to use both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat coronavirus patients, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“Hydroxychloroquine is typically used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, health experts say,” the Morning News reported.

The study was unable to confirm any benefit of using hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus.

According to the Morning News, some have noted that the Lancet study was not randomized, which health experts say is an ideal standard for scientific research.

Jesse Goodman, a Georgetown University professor and former FDA chief scientist, told the Washington Post that it was important to note that the study showed correlation between the drugs and the outcomes, but not cause and effect.