Researchers found the estimated number of hydroxychloroquine prescriptions increased 86.2% from February to March, from 367,346 to 683,999, and dispensed chloroquine prescriptions increased 158.6%, rising from 2,346 to 6,066 prescriptions.
The FDA withdrew its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for Covid-19 on June 15.
Some researchers thought chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine might be able to fight coronavirus based on initial laboratory analyses, and President Trump became a cheerleader for the treatment, calling it “very encouraging” and “very powerful” and a “game-changer.”
But in recent studies of Covid-19 patients, the drugs have largely not stacked up. A randomized clinical trial — considered the gold-standard for determining drug efficacy — was halted by the National Institutes of Health after data showed hydroxychloroquine provided no benefit to Covid-19 patients.
“While there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with Covid-19,” the NIH said in a June 20 news release.
A team at Southeast Michigan’s Henry Ford Health System announced last week that it found Covid-19 patients given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die, but other researchers have raised doubts about the finding.
“Obviously, we would all love to have treatments that work for this disease,” Schluger said. “But I think we still have to wait.”
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