The drug has long been used for the treatment of malaria and conditions such as lupus and arthritis, but it is not technically approved by the FDA for COVID-19. The agency, however, is encouraging trials and has granted limited emergency clearance for its use to treat COVID-19 patients. Dr. Anthony Cardillo said he saw very promising results when prescribing hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc for the most severely ill COVID-19 patients.
“Each patient I prescribed it to was very, very sick and within 8 to 12 hours they were practically symptom-free,” Cardillo told Eyewitness News. “So, clinically, I see a resolution. “
Cardillo is the CEO of Mend Urgent Care, which has offices in Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys and Burbank.
He said he found it only works when combined with zinc. The drug, he said, opens a channel for zinc to enter the cell and block replication of the virus.
He added that the drug should not be prescribed for those with only mild symptoms, as there are concerns about shortages of patients with other conditions who need to take the drug regularly.
“We have to be careful and aware that we don’t prescribe it to patients who have COVID who are doing well,” said Cardillo. “It should only be used by people who are really sick, in the hospital or at home very sick, who need this medication. Otherwise, we will blow into our supply for patients who take it regularly for other pathological processes. “
Full interview: Dr. Anthony Cardillo of Mend Urgent Care in Los Angeles
Chloroquine, or hydroxychloroquine, has been approved to treat and prevent malaria since 1944. Because the drug is on the market, doctors can use it for purposes not listed on the label.
President Trump has presented it as a possible remedy, but the government’s main coronavirus expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been much more cautious, saying there is only “anecdotal evidence” demonstrating his efficiency.
Experts are also concerned about potential misuse. An Arizona man died after taking a similar drug, chloroquine phosphate, in an apparent attempt to self-medicate. The man did not take the pharmaceutical version of the drug, but a version used in aquariums to clean aquariums.
MORE: Concerns About Chloroquine Shortage Rise As Trump Brags Malaria Drug As Possible COVID-19 Treatment
The FDA does not recommend taking any form of chloroquine unless it is prescribed by a doctor and obtained from a legitimate source.
Another drug that has shown some potential to treat COVID-19 is remdesivir, a drug that was originally developed as a potential treatment for Ebola. A woman from Palo Alto was accepted into a clinical trial for remdesivir and said it was effective in improving her condition.
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