Health officials express concern over Hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment

Study shows Hydroxychloroquine doesn't work

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama heath leaders are concerned about a drug being touted as cure or prevention for COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine has been used to treat Lupus, but the coronavirus remains questionable.

President Trump has talked about Hydroxychloroquine and this week a group of doctors came out backing the drug, claiming it can cure or prevent COVID-19. A short time later, that claim was refuted both nationally and here in Alabama - health leaders say it doesn’t work.

As many on social media continue to push hydroxychloroquine, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris points to a recent New England Journal of Medicine study.

“It didn’t show any benefit of hydroxychloroquine either with or without azithromycin for treatment of people who were sick. Now it didn’t say anything about prevention. It didn’t address that,” Harris said.

Dr. Michael Saag, an infectious diseases doctor at UAB who has also recovered from COVID-19, said other studies show the drug did not prevent you from getting the coronavirus.

“If they are not going to work then we are not using something else that could well work and that is what the FDA has done for us,” Saag said.

The FDA has cautioned against using hydroxychloroquine outside of a hospital or clinical trial. Dr. Harris said more research is needed. “This should not be a partisan issue. Your politics should not decide if you use a drug or not. The answer is let’s wait on the evidence and we will all know,” Harris said.

Saag is concerned about mixed messages coming out about the drug. “Just creates chaos, confusion and division and we can not afford to be divided right now. We have to be together to fight this virus or otherwise it wins,” Saag said.

The best advice is to rely on advice from your doctor what is the best form of treatment for you or your family.

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