Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine as potential treatments for COVID-19

Ed note: This post discusses the use of some of pharmaceutical drugs that are being trialed in the treatment of COVID-19. If you would like to read an article that includes information about COVID-19 prevention strategies and other treatments that are being investigated as options for COVID-19 including intravenous vitamin C and herbal medicine, please go to this link: https://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/corona-virus-resources-for-the-public-and-health-professionals/

Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are drugs that have been used to treat malaria (and some other conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis) and have also shown to have activity against corona viruses. Information about these drugs is being listed here as these are the drugs about which there has been the most discussion in mainstream media.

France is now reportedly making hydroxychloroquine available for the treatment of COVID-19 after a small study showed that most people who were given the medication recovered faster: https://www.dailywire.com/news/france-officially-sanctions-drug-after-78-of-80-patients-recover-from-covid-19-within-five-days The study may be accessed via this link: https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-IHU-2-1.pdf

The following article notes that the antiviral activity of these drugs has been know for well over a decade:

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/03/19/chloroquine-known-as-effective-against-coronavirus-since-2005/

This paper suggests that they may be worthwhile for treating  COVID-19.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300820

This paper reports on a recent clinical trial: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300996

A doctor in New York has claimed an almost 100% recovery rate for patients who had COVD-19 symptoms  (but were not so sick that they required admission to hospital) with using a combination of medications including hydroxychloroquine and you can read a letter he wrote (which includes dosages) at this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SesxgaPnpT6OfCYuaFSwXzDK4cDKMbivoALprcVFj48/preview

Additional information about chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (and other pharmaceutical options) may be found at this link: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/therapeutic-options.html

UPDATE 24 May 2020: A thoughtful article that discusses some of the more recent research into hydroxychloroquine may be read at the following link: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/05/02/pseudo-science-behind-the-assault-on-hydroxychloroquine/

For ongoing updates, Michael J. A. Robb, M.D. has created a live document to track effectiveness of HCQ-based treatments which may be accessed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1w6p_HqRXCrW0_wYNK7m_zpQLbBVYcvVU/view

Medication availability:

Hydroxychloroquine is available in NZ and its datasheet is here:  https://medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/p/Plaqueniltab.pdf However, Pharmac recently changed its status so that the drug is NOT now funded for New Zealanders except those with specific pre-existing conditions. https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/information-for/covid-19-pharmacs-response/covid-19-information-for-prescribers/covid-19-hydroxychloroquine/ Several DHBs in NZ will be enrolling patients in a clinical trial in which hydroxychloroquine will be used so this may provide access to this medication for some people.

Azithromycin is available in NZ and datasheets are below:

https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/z/Zithromaxtabsusp.pdf

https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/a/apoazithromycintab.pdf

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