Trust Index: Is it safe to use hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus?

Medical experts advise against it

ORLANDO, Fla. – As health professionals guide people on how to protect themselves from coronavirus, President Donald Trump said he has turned to taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure.

The controversial drug has been used to treat COVID-19, but as the Food and Drug Administration warns, the drug has not gone through appropriate clinical trials for COVID-19.

“I have been taking it for about a week and a half, every day. I take a pill every day,” Trump said.

The president has repeatedly touted the drug almost since coronavirus made its way to the United States, but often amid warnings and caveats from the medical community.

Early on, some Central Florida hospitals reported to News 6 they did use the drug on COVID-19 patients, in some cases with some success, but AdventHealth also warned it is “not possible to tie those benefits specifically to the use of this medication.”

"What do you have to lose?," the President asked.

In some cases there could be a lot to lose, according to medical experts.

At the end of April, the FDA released a drug safety announcement cautioning against using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 outside of hospital settings.

The warning came after reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 who were treated with the drug.

The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases told News 6 in an email: More data is needed to prove that the treatment can improve outcomes in people with COVID-19.

Hospital systems like AdventHealth now report they have largely stopped using hydroxychloroquine.

Based on this information, we give the use of hydroxychloroquine: Be careful on the Trust Index.

Be Careful

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The National Institutes of Health now recommends the drug only be used in relation to COVID-19, in clinical trials.

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