(WXYZ) — A new study looking at hydroxychloroquine has found that COVID-19 patients who were treated with the drug faced a higher risk of death. And they were also more likely to develop serious irregular heart rhythms.
The study was published this morning in the medical journal “The Lancet” and it’s the largest analysis to-date.
Let me first give you a little bit of the background regarding the study. It involved 671 hospitals from around the world. And included more than 96,000 patients sick with COVID-19. About 53 percent of these patients were men and the average age was 54.
Now, just under 15,000 of these patients were given 1 of four treatments within 48 hours after they were diagnosed. And unfortunately, all four treatments were linked to higher death rates.
Let me break it all down for you:
- First, let’s start off with the control group, these are the patients who were not given hydroxychloroquine - and about 1 in 11 of them died in the hospital.
- Now, let’s compare that to the patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine – where about 1 in 6 patients taking either one of these drugs died in the hospital.
- Next group were patients who were treated with chloroquine and an antibiotic - and roughly 1 in 5 died.
- And lastly, the group of patients that were treated with hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic - almost 1 in 4 died.
The medical term for irregular heart rhythms is cardiac arrhythmias. And if it’s serious, it can actually lead to death. And unfortunately again, the study’s data found more bad news:
- Patients that were treated with hydroxychloroquine had a 137 percent increased risk of serious cardiac arrhythmias
- Patients that were treated with chloroquine had a 256 percent increased risk of serious cardiac arrhythmias
- And patients given chloroquine along with an antibiotic had a 301 percent increased risk of serious cardiac arrhythmias
- And finally, the patients treated with hydroxychloroquine along with an antibiotic had a 411 percent increased risk of serious cardiac arrhythmias
So based on this data, it looks to me that these medications are not improving patient outcomes. And in my opinion, they appear to be doing more harm than good.
Hydroxychloroquine has been around for years. It’s FDA approved as a treatment for malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. And it’s generally considered to be safe for these conditions.
As for the possibility of it preventing you from getting COVID-19, there’s no data out there to my knowledge that supports this idea. However, that may changes soon as a study of health-care workers who are taking it in hopes of warding off the coronavirus is currently taking place.
There’s been no info released yet. But hopefully soon.
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