Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID‐19 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19)
Hydroxychloroquine-(C18H26ClN3O)(Plaquenil) is used to prevent or treat malaria infections. This medication is also used, usually with other medications, to treat certain auto-immune diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis) when other medications have not worked or cannot be used. In the USA there are no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs specifically for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) US in a statement mentioned that the study on Hydroxychloroquine in connection with COVID-19 is an adaptive, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of novel therapeutic agents in hospitalized adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The study is a multicenter trial that will be conducted in up to 50 sites globally. The study will be a series of 2-arm comparisons between different investigational therapeutic agents and a placebo. There will be interim monitoring to introduce new arms and allow early stopping for futility, efficacy, or safety. If one therapy proves to be efficacious, this treatment will then become the control arm for comparison(s) with new experimental treatment(s).
Hydroxychloroquine comes as a tablet (200mg per day) to take by mouth. For prevention of malaria in adults, two tablets are usually taken once a week on exactly the same day of each week. The first dose is taken 1 to 2 weeks before traveling to an area where malaria is common, and then doses are continued for 8 weeks after exposure. For treatment of acute attacks of malaria in adults, four tablets are usually taken right away, followed by two tablets 6 to 8 hours later and then two tablets on each of the next 2 days.
In India National task force for COVID-19 constituted by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended hydroxy-chloroquine as a preventive medication for COVID-19 and the same has been approved by Drug Controller General of India (DGCI).
In hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 test cases, Hydroxychloroquine plus the antibiotic Azithromycin are given to COVID-19 patients. Azithromycin was added for its effectiveness against complications from bacterial lung disease. Robin May, Professor of Infectious Disease at the University of Birmingham UK, explained that there is a scientific rationale for the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV, COVID-19) is a new virus that researchers first identified in Wuhan province, China, in late 2019.
Side effects of Hydroxychloroquine
loss of appetite
- International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
- U.S. National Library of Medicine-National Center for Biotechnology Information