FDA warns against hydroxychloroquine use outside of hospital settings as prescriptions surge

The FDA issued a warning April 24 against using hydroxychloroquine outside of a hospital setting or clinical trial due to the risk of serious heart problems as prescriptions have surged since the president began promoting the drug during his daily press briefings. 

The FDA said it's aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine, often when it was combined with the antibiotic azithromycin. 

Prescriptions of the drug increased by 46 times the average since the president first promoted the drug on TV in March, according to The New York Times. By the second week of April, prescriptions were still being given at six times the normal rate. The drug has not been proven to be safe or effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, the FDA said. 

The FDA reminded healthcare professionals of the known risks of hydroxychloroquine, such as abnormal heart rhythms and a dangerously rapid heart rate. Hydroxychloroquine use should be limited to clinical trials or for treating certain hospitalized patients under the FDA's emergency use authorization, the agency said. 

Read the full news release here.


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