WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- On Monday, President Donald Trump told reporters that he’s been taking an anti-malaria drug “for about a week and a half now.”
- However, the drug was not recommended by his doctor, Trump said he requested it from the White House physician.
- Despite being unproven for combatting COVID-19, the president said he takes hydroxychloroquine with zinc daily to lessen symptoms in case he gets the virus.
President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that he is taking a malaria drug in case he gets COVID-19. Though the drug is unproven for treating the novel coronavirus, Trump says the drug may lessen the severity of the symptoms.
The president added that he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.” The president has repeatedly pitched the anti-malarial drug as a potential cure for COVID-19. His administration’s top medical experts, however, cautioned that the drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some coronavirus patients.
He admitted that the drug was not recommended by his doctor but he requested it from the White House physician.
Trump explained: “I started taking it, because I think it’s good. I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”
He downplayed reports about side effects and assured: “All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK.”
The AP reported that the president has pushed the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin. As of today, no large, and extremely thorough studies have found them safe or effective for preventing or treating COVID-19.
According to reports, hydroxychloroquine can cause heart rhythm problems and other side effects. The Food and Drug Administration has cautioned against hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination.
Recently, two large observational studies, with around 1,400 participants or patients in New York, recently found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine. On Thursday, two new studies published in the medical journal BMJ released the same results.
One study was made by French researchers while the other study was conducted in China. The French study revealed no differences in the odds of death, the need for intensive care or developing severe illness. The Chinese researchers found that the drug made no difference in rates of clearing the virus or time to relief of symptoms, and they brought more side effects.