Poison Center issues warning regarding using anti-malarial drugs to fight COVID-19

Posted at 1:55 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 16:13:16-04

(WXYZ) — Poison Control issued a warning against using anti-malarial drugs to fight COVID-19.

Officials say the general public and physicians are buying and using chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine after recent reports suggested they may be able to treat COVID-19.

However, Poison Control says the data supporting their use did not consider other factors; some of the studies were released before peer-reviewing.

Officials say there is now a life-threatening shortage of the drug for people who need it to live. There is additionally an increasing number of people inadvertently overdosing, resulting in use of intensive care units and ventilators.

"We do not know at this time if these drugs are effective," Poison Control says. "The only way to determine this is through well-designed clinical trials, which are in progress."

Poison Control says these drugs can cause significant illness with permanent damage or death if not taken in the correct dose or manner. Even if taken correctly, they can cause toxicity when administered together with other drugs.

Poison Control asks not to request these medications from physicians or to buy them on the internet.

If you do take chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, call the Poison Center (800-222-1222) or seek immediate medical care if you develop ringing in your ears, difficulty seeing, nausea and vomiting, turning blue, lightheadedness, palpitations, slow heart rate, confusion, shakiness, seizures, trouble breathing or passing out.

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