Hydroxycholoroquine for COVID-19

The sacred oath taken by physicians during graduation from medical school to "First do no harm," the first words of the Hippocratic Oath, provides a strong impetus for a commentary just published in The American Journal of Medicine. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine and collaborators from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health are urging all health care providers to always prioritize compassion with reliable evidence on efficacy and safety. They recommend a moratorium on the prescription of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin, to treat or prevent COVID-19, with the exceptions of obtaining the necessary evidence in randomized trials as well as compassionate use.

Despite the fact, or perhaps due in part to the fact that there are no therapeutic or preventive measures for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, which accounts for less than 5 percent of the world's population and about 30 percent of the cases and deaths, the widespread prescriptions of these drugs are nine times greater than in the last several years. This widespread use is leading to nationwide shortages in patients with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, for whom hydroxychloroquine has been an approved indication for decades. These patients are unable to refill their prescriptions.

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