The bottom line is we don’t know, but I’ve been asked this question 5( a sixth time while writing this) times today, including from a neurologist who takes it for other reasons. This stems mainly from a jerry-rigged article that came out a week ago.
It has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal. There are anecdotal reports that chloroquine may shorten hospital stays. In medicine we like to say that data is not the sum of anecdotes. There is no proof that you can take it as a prophylactic.
- Rumors of the drug as a cure popped up in March when a WhatsApp voice message in Nigeria claimed the drug could be a cure for COVID-19, according to AFP.
• The World Health Organization said in a statement back in February that the drug isn’t a confirmed cure for the coronavirus and definitely needs more testing.
• The statement came from Dr.Janet Diaz, the head of clinical care for WHO’s emergency program.
“At this moment in time there is no proven effective treatment for COVID-19 so that is clear at this moment in time. However there are ongoing clinical trials being done in China at this moment as well. The two that we’ve already discussed are testing the priority therapeutics that were prioritized by the WHO R&D blueprints and that includes lopinavir and ritonavir as well as remdesivir. For chloroquine there is no proof that that is an effective treatment at this time. We recommend that therapeutics be tested under ethically approved clinical trials to show efficacy and safety.”
What is the downside of taking Chloroquine? For the most part it is well tolerated by those who take it for autoimmune illnesses. I have taken it years ago when we gave it for malaria prophylaxis, but in that case it was taken once a week and in this paper it is taken daily. Here are the potential side effects from Epocrates:
- anaphylaxis/anaphylactoid rxn
- skin rxn, severe
- retinal damage (high dose or long-term use)
- retinopathy (high dose or long-term use)
- macular degeneration (high dose or long-term use)
- auditory toxicity
- neuromuscular impairment, severe
- neuropsychiatric disorders
- aplastic anemia
- QT prolongation
- abdominal pain
- blurred vision
- visual disturbance
- skin eruptions
- skin pigmentation abnormality
- muscle weakness
- extrapyramidal sx
If 81% of people with this coronavirus have mild symptoms, taking this unproven medication will result in at least an 81% cure rate. That’s pretty darn good for any medication.
That’s what we know. I asked Walgreen’s if they had any and they said it was on back order.