Trump says he’s taking unproven hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection

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President Donald Trump said on Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, for more than a week to prevent coronavirus infection, although it is not yet a proven treatment.

“I happen to take it,” said Trump at a White House roundtable. “A lot of good things have come out. You would be surprised at the number of people who take it, especially the front line workers. Before catching it. Front-line workers, many, many take it. “

He added, “I’m taking it, hydroxychlororquin. Right now, yes. A few weeks ago, I started taking it. Because I think it’s good, I’ve heard a lot of good stories. “

Hydroxychloroquine, which has been repeatedly touted by Trump as a potential game changer in the fight against coronavirus, is also often used by doctors to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Many clinical trials are looking to see if it is effective in fighting the coronavirus, but it is not yet a proven treatment.

Trump, meanwhile, refuses to wear a mask, which medical experts have touted as a way to limit the spread of the virus.

Trump’s comments come weeks after the Food and Drug Administration issued a drug warning, saying it had heard of “serious heart rhythm problems” in patients with the virus who were being treated with antimalarial drugs , often in combination with an antibiotic azithromycin, commonly known as Z-Pak.

Hydroxychloroquine, which is available as a generic drug and is also produced under the brand name Plaquenil by the French drug manufacturer Sanofi, can have serious side effects, including muscle weakness and cardiac arrhythmia. A small study in Brazil was discontinued for safety reasons after coronavirus patients taking chloroquine, from which hydroxychloroquine is derived, have developed arrhythmias, including some who have died.

Trump said on Monday that if the drugs were not good, he “would tell you.”

“I’m not going to hurt myself. It’s been 40 years, “he said. “For malaria, for lupus, for other things. I take it. Front line workers take it. Many doctors take it – excuse me, many doctors take it. I take it. “

He added that he had no shares in the company that produced the drug, adding that he wanted “the people of this nation to feel good.”

“I don’t want them to feel sick. And there is a very good chance that it will have an impact, especially at the start, “he said.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.

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