After a 7000% increase in the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the symptoms of Covid-19 in France and a recent Lancet study claiming that the drug does not work, the French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) has recommended that it should not be prescribed except in the following cases: clinical trials.
Some doctors tout hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19
The drug was championed by President Trump (the United States has stored millions of doses) as a key strategy for the Covid-19 treatment. President Trump admitted last week that he was taking the drug himself. Trump was following the recommendations of a study by French doctor, Marseille-based professor Didier Raoult, who published a small study in March and declared it to be a key strategy in the fight against Covid-19.
Hydroxychloroquine is currently being studied in many other clinical trials worldwide to examine its effects, such as the World Health Organization’s solidarity trial.
New study suggests that hydroxychloroquine is not suitable for the treatment of Covid-19
A study reported in The Lancet last week that after examining nearly 100,000 patients in 671 hospitals on six continents, the researchers found no evidence to support the case of hydroxychloroquine. Euronews said the study was not a clinical trial – it was based on an observational analysis conducted between December 20, 2019 and April 14, 2020.
Quoted in France 24, Dr. Mandeep Mehra, chief of study and cardiac specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said: “Not only is there no benefit, but we have seen a very consistent signal of harm. “
Nearly 15,000 patients received the drug, which revealed a mortality rate of 13% compared to 9% for patients not taking the drug (with or without an antibiotic such as azithromycin). However, the study concluded that the risk of developing a serious heart rhythm problem is more than five times higher – it was for the latter reason that the medical community had declared that hydroxychloroquine was not safe to take .
BFM TV reported that 8 other studies to date have concluded that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective in its treatment of Covid-19.
Professor Raoult denounced the Lancet research in La Provence as “a false study carried out with big data badly controlled”. He continued to treat many people in the Marseille hospital he manages (more than 3,000 patients) and remains convinced of the benefits of the treatment.
Raoult minimized the health risks by saying “of course you can kill yourself if you take too much hydroxychloroquine, just like you can do with doliprane” (like aspirin or paracetamol in France), “what which is actually much more dangerous. Nothing can erase what I saw with my own eyes. “
Raoult has become both revered and insulted across France in recent months.
France recommended not to prescribe hydroxychloroquine
French Health Minister Olivier Véran tweeted after the Lancet study that he would be looking into France’s use of drugs recently – prescriptions have been shown to be 7000% higher than usual. The drug is used to treat people with lupus and to protect themselves from malaria.
Véran – as Le Monde reports – asked the French health organization HCSP to review France’s directives within 48 hours. They have now recommended “not to use hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of Covid-19” outside of clinical trials, either alone or in combination with an antibiotic.