SINCE the coronavirus outbreak there has been a great deal of talk about ‘miracle drugs’ which can be used to cure the coronavirus, however a French medicine watchdog has seriously warned against self-medicating with these powerful drugs as they could cause adverse and even fatal side effects.
Hydroxychloroquine is typically used to treat lupus, malaria, and HIV and it can be found under a number of brand names, like Plaquenil in France. Although this is being tested in several nations as a treatment for the coronavirus, the French drug safety agency warned that this “should in no case be used as self-medication.” Dominique Martin from the ANSM drug agency reported that around 30 patients with Covid-19 had reported serious adverse effects relating to heart disorders after taking this drug. A further three people have died and officials are investigating their deaths as they may be linked to this form of self-medication.
The agency has also warned against other use of drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir, which is typically used to treat HIV, and the antibiotics azithromycin and Kaletra.
In the United States, last week a man who was self-medicating with the non-pharmaceutical version of Plaquenil also passed away. President Donald Trump had branded this medication as a ‘game changer.’ The wife of the deceased who also took the hydroxychloroquine was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
Martin has warned that these strong drugs need the “particular attention” of medics as their combination could be lethal and cause a heart attack.
France is now the fourth country to pass the 4,000 mark of deaths related to the coronavirus after Italy, Spain and the US.