In the April 16 online issue of “U.S. Pharmacist –The Pharmacist’s Resource for Clinical Excellence” pharmacists are told what to tell patients about risks of so-called miracle drugs for COVID-19, primarily, hydroxychloroquin.
There are 10 short paragraphs in the article and other than neutral opening remarks, here is the opening sentence of eight paragraphs:
1. First, the evidence for the medications benefit in COVID-19 remains thin, at best.
2.While the studies provide some hope, patients should be cautioned that many drugs that perform well in vitro studies fail to demonstrate the same effect when tested in humans.
3.Beyond that, the drugs have some significant side effects, even with short-term use, that may be especially risky in the setting of COVID-19.
4.Both Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can prolong the QTc interval, a risk increased in patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.
5.Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine also increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
6.Patients taking the malaria drugs sometimes experience neuropsychiatric effects . . .
7.Individuals may metabolize the drugs very differently and the drugs interact with a large number of other medications, making knowing the right dose for each patient quite challenging.
8.Despite optimism (in some, even enthusiasm) for the potential of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19, little consideration has been given to the possibility that the drugs might negatively influence the course of disease.. . . This is why we need a better evidence base before routinely using these drugs to treat patients with COVID-19.
Pretty scary, huh? Too dangerous to take hydroxychloroquin!
After reading the above objections to hydroxychloroquin, I immediately thought of horrendous side effects including cancer and death cited for commonly prescribed drugs advertised on TV — you know — those expensive happy, cheerful videos shown to advertise drugs to treat diabetes other health problems and enhanced with catchy tunes. Simultaneously, an authoritative background voice quickly enumerates possible dangers of the advertised FDA approved drug considered safe after controlled studies. I challenge anyone to listen carefully to the list of side effects when the videos are so enticing to watch.
Does it matter that patients at the brink of death have been saved with hydroxychloroquin? I guess it doesn’t matter. Dr. Anthony Fauci, pontificating from his ivory tower at the revered CDC says that before the drug can be safely used, controlled studies must be done first.
So, did your stricken mom or grandma die while waiting for completed controlled studies for hydroxychloroquin that may be years away?
Hydoxychloroquin has been around a long time and used for malaria and other conditions and I don’t recall evidence of it harming or causing death to anyone who has taken it. In the COVID-19 situation, it sounds like taking it is a reasonable alternative to impending death.
Long Island, New York hospitals are using vitamin C for COVID-19 patients as part of an integrative treatment. Physicians there made the decision based on experimental treatments in Wuhan, China.
“The patients who received vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get vitamin C,” said Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island. “It helps a tremendous amount, but it is not highlighted because it’s not a sexy drug,” he told the New York Post.
So what would I tell a patient to do? I’d advise the patient to consider the facts and apply common sense. If asked what I would do for myself, I’d say I would take the hydroxychloroquin. Perhaps I would also say I’d use IV Vitamin C. Why not try it as well as the hydroxychloroquin if death appears imminent? But why wait for a patient to be at death’s door?
As an employee, would I be reprimanded for my advice? Possibly. It doesn’t matter. When it comes to making a choice between life or death, sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do because it’s the right thing to do. Bless those doctors with common sense who prescribe medications that work — if not for everyone, at least for some. It’s the humane thing to do.
Do you agree or disagree? Please leave a comment below