Doctor in The Villages using controversial anti-malaria drug to treat 2 coronavirus patients

Hydroxychloroquine under going experimental drug treatments across US

Doctor shares story about treating COVID-19 patients
Doctor shares story about treating COVID-19 patients

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – A Central Florida doctor explained how he is treating patients who test positive for COVID-19, including two who are using the anti-malaria drug being tested on coronavirus patients across the country but that has not been proven effective yet by the Federal Drug Administration.

Dr. Cameron Frederick works at Premiere Medical Associates in The Villages, one of the first locations in Florida to offer private testing for the respiratory illness.

“Our clinic is making sure nobody who has symptoms of the coronavirus are coming through the door, they stay out in the parking lot and get tested out there," Frederick said.

He says he’s helped around a dozen people during their recovery from COVID-19. He says none have been asymptomatic.

“I haven’t had a patient that hasn’t been without one of the 3 major symptoms -- shortness of breath, cough, or fever,” Frederick said.

Frederick said the patients he’s seen who tested positive for COVID-19 range in age from 18 to 100.

Two of his patients are using hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus, even though it hasn’t been approved by the FDA yet as an effective treatment.

Doctor in The Villages using controversial anti-malaria drug to treat 2 coronavirus patients
Doctor in The Villages using controversial anti-malaria drug to treat 2 coronavirus patients

“Its not an experimental drug, its an experimental drug treatment,” Frederick said. “Its been used for other purposes in the past. It’s not proven whether it works for the coronavirus yet, but we offer that as a treatment for those who want to take that.”

Frederick says he hasn’t seen any adverse effects from those patients taking the drug but adds it’s still too early to tell if it is a viable treatment.

He also has other treatment plans for coronavirus patients.

“If they already have asthma, or they’re having trouble breathing, they’ll take Albuterol treatments,” Frederick said. “Everything can be treated like a common cold, its just a matter of how badly does this virus treat different people. Some people it affects them to the point where they have to go to the hospital. Other people it just needs to be treated like a common cold at home.”

He says patients usually see symptoms anywhere from 1 day after exposure to up to 15 days but he says most of the patients he’s seen saw symptoms within a week.

He says none of the patients he’s treated for COVID-19 have had to go to the hospital, yet.

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“We don’t know how long its going to last in everybody,” Frederick said. “It is difficult. And you can tell everybody is anxious about it, and if you are sick, that can transcend even further.”

Frederick said that’s why he and other doctors at Premiere Medical Associates have referred many patients to a mental health counselor or psychiatrist for one-on-one tele-therapy to help work through their anxiety.

Frederick says while he does not check in on his patients everyday, he does check in on them on a regular basis by phone and by video.

“We update at a regular interval perhaps every few days or a week to make sure they’re progressing fine,” Frederick said.

Frederick said he is encouraging people to stay at home to stop the spread of the contagious coronavirus, and recommends if you are out, cover your face with some sort of face mask - no matter where you live.

“The moment I leave the office, I have one,” Frederick said. “It does not hurt - it helps.”

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