Coronavirus

Donald Trump taking drug hydroxychloroquine daily

It wasn't long ago that the US president was promoting the benefits of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, despite contradictions from experts, but it seems he's following his own advice.

Donald Trump taking drug hydroxychloroquine daily
LEAH MILLIS REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that he has touted, despite medical warnings about its use, as a preventive medicine against the coronavirus.

Trump popping hydroxychloroquine to ward off Covid-19

'I've been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day,' Trump told reporters.

Trump made the disclosure during a question-and-answer session with reporters during a meeting with restaurant executives about the impact of the virus. Weeks ago, Trump had promoted the drug as a potential treatment for the virus but subsequent studies found that it was not helpful.

Trump, 73, who is tested daily for the virus, said he had asked the White House physician if it was OK to take the drug, and the doctor told him, 'well, if you'd like it.'

Trump says hydroxychloroquine won't hurt him

Trump was asked about his evidence for the efficacy of the drug against coronavirus and said: "Here's my evidence, I get a lot of positive calls about it." He also indicated many medical workers were also taking the drug.

"You'd be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it, the frontline workers, many, many are taking it," he told reporters.

Trump also commented that he had heard a lot of good stories about the drug and "if it's not good, I'll tell you... I'm not going to get hurt by it. I get a lot of tremendously positive news on the hydroxy, and I say...what do you have to lose?"

Hydroxychloroquine can cause severe side effects

While Trump may claim people have nothing to lose by taking it, that's not true; hydroxychloroquine can cause severe side effects including heart failure (which can be fatal), liver disease; blood and lymphatic system disorders, gastrointestinal issues, immune system problems, metabolism and nutrition disorders, and nervous system problems, including nervousness, irritability, nightmares, psychosis and suicidal behaviour, to name just some.

 The American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists have issued a joint statement opposing the use of hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of Covid-19.

Fox News Channel, immediately after Trump's remarks, interviewed Dr. Bob Lahita, who cautioned people not to take hydroxychloroquine.

'There's no effect that we have seen and we have treated multiple patients with it,' he said.

Supplies of hydroxychloroquine needed for other conditions

Furthermore, supplies of hydroxychloroquine are needed to treat other illnesses including rheumatic arthiritis and lupus, meaning people using supplies to incorrectly attempt to treat Covid-19 may put other peoples' treatments at risk.

Trump's disclosure came as Moderna Inc reported progress in a potential vaccine for the virus. The only drug that has emerged as a potential treatment is Gilead Sciences Inc's remdesivir, a drug reserved for hospital patients.