Chloroquine (Aralen) for Coronavirus Treatment

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While scientists are working on developing new methods of COVID treatment, people use readily available medications which has proven effectiveness against coronavirus. These meds include HIV antivirals like Kaletra and antimalarials like an old drug chloroquine (CQ) phosphate.

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What is Chloroquine Phosphate?

This medication has long been used for the treatment of malaria, amebiasis, and some autoimmune diseases.

However, malaria pathogens have developed some level of resistance to CQ, so with appearance of new medications to treat this disease, people have started to use it for prevention purposes.

In the past decade, due to non-frequent usage and relatively low demand, its production was remarkably reduced, but many online pharmacies including this one still offer chloroquine under different trade names.

Aralen is a Sanofi Avensis brand name, and there are generic versions of it, such as Dawaquin and Lariago.

How Does Aralen (Lariago) Work?

When it comes to malaria, it is clearly known that the drug affects acid vesicles of parasites like Plasmodium malariae. This medication inhibits DNA synthesis and causes the death of asexual erythrocytic forms of all types of plasmodium, as well as dysenteric amoeba.

The active component of the tablet binds free radicals, stabilizes cell and subcellular membranes, and also has a number of other beneficial effects.

It has been shown that CQ can significantly inhibit CoV-2 infection in vitro. This beneficial effect is greatly supplemented with anti-inflammatory properties of chloroquine.

Is Chloroquine Phosphate Really Effective?

It is known, that old SARS virus which caused an epidemic in 2000s is a ‘relative’ of the novel COVID. In 2004, researchers at University of Leuven (Belgium) published a study, according to which chloroquine may be considered for immediate taking in the prevention and therapy of SARS-CoV infections.

In 2020, there were reports that antimalarial medications, including this one, may be effective against coronavirus due to their powerful antiviral effect. In particular, it was named an appropriate choice for large-scale use due to proven safety, high availability, and relatively low price. Currently there are about 10 trials which should shed more light on the peculiarities of CQ use in the treatment of COVID-2019.

How to Take The Medication?

According to newly issued guidelines (by Chinese scientists from multicenter collaboration group of Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province), the medicine might lead to improvement of success rates (and thereby reduce fatality), shorten the time of staying in hospital, and improve outcomes related to the dangerous disease. These researchers also provided the public with a consensus regarding proper use of chloroquine.

So, patients need to take 500 mg twice per day. How long should you use it? 10-day treatment is considered an optimal duration. Chloroquine is suitable regardless of the course of disease (mild, moderate, or severe).

Make sure that you don’t have contraindications to the administration of the drug.

The List of Contraindications

Don’t use the medication if you have:

  • retinal or visual field disorders of any etiology
  • known hypersensitivity to components of the drug or to 4-aminoquinoline compounds

As you see, this list is not huge, but caution is also needed if you suffer from cardiac diseases. In addition, tell your healthcare professional in case of pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Potential Side Effects

In some cases, CQ may cause the following adverse events:

  • severe hypoglycemia (drop in blood sugar levels in the body),
  • maculopathy (pathological disorder of the macula, an area at the center of the retina) and macular degeneration,
  • retinopathy,
  • urticarial, other immune system disorders,
  • anemia, thrombocytopenia, and other blood disorders,
  • gastrointestinal disorders, such as diarrhea and cramps,
  • transient headache, extrapyramidal disorders like dystonia and dyskinesia,
  • anxiety, insomnia, and other neuropsychiatric conditions,
  • cardiac arrhythmias

The list is not exhaustive, contact your doctor if you experience any persisting and / or severe adverse reaction.

Other Considerations

Don’t exceed recommended dosages, this exacerbates the risk of side effects.

Antacids disrupt the absorption of this medication, while cimetidine increases the concentration of chloroquine in the blood plasma. Better avoid combination with these groups of medications.

Conclusion

Chloroquine is a medication with high safety profile and it was recommended as a good choice of COVID treatment.

As it is used for malaria prophylaxis, it might be assumed that it has some preventive properties when it comes to coronavirus.

  • Maribel, France
    2020-03-25

    My 2 weeks with coronavirus were “to hell and back”. My doctors gave me excellent care, as well as chloroquine with antibiotics (due to bacterial complications). Don’t know how does chloroquine work, but I recovered.

  • Tara, GB
    2020-03-24

    Once it was known that chloroquine might help for COVID, I ordered it online. Luckily, it was delivered quickly. I am using it for prophylaxis, as many people in my residential quarter are sick.

  • A. Chan, Hong Kong
    2020-03-24

    I was tested positive for COVID. But had no severe symptoms. I took the medication for several days, and my symptoms didn’t get worse. Seems it works.

  • Antonio, Rome
    2020-03-22

    I am suffering from rheumatoid arthritis so I always have several packets with chloroquine. God bless, due to that I now have a good medicine against coronavirus. Bought it here.

  • Anonymous person
    2020-03-21

    Took this for about 4-5 weeks before, during a trip to Madagascar and after it. I experienced quite a few side effects, but they were transient and mild. This anti-parasite was probably helping, as I was completely healthy. No complaints.

  • Park Hae Kan
    2020-03-21

    I had stocks of this medication, 'cause I'm an avid traveler. Recently, I travelled to Italy. So I used this stuff for another purpose -- to prevent covid. 2 weeks passed by. No symptoms, fortunately.

  • Piero, Italy
    2020-03-20

    In my city it seems unrealistic to get any medications against coronavirus. Out of stock, out of stock – I heard that in all local pharmacies. Online shopping helped me, thanks a lot.

  • Jada, Madrid
    2020-03-19

    I bought chloroquine for me and members of my family. You know, situation here in Spain is bad. Fortunately, I succeed to purchase the medication with proven effectiveness, as far as I know.

  • Luis, Spain
    2020-03-18

    I started to take the medicine several days ago. I bought it in advance, cause I monitored information about new coronavirus drugs. So, it decided to take it because I had a close contact with a person with suspected COVID-2019 symptoms. At the moment, I don’t feel ill, hope it will help and prevent the disease.

  • Brian, London, UK
    2020-03-17

    Took for several days for a visit to Kruger National Park in South Africa. Was afraid to use after readying scare stories in the internet. But... No side effects. No nausea, nothing. Took with breakfast.

  • Daddy21
    2020-03-16

    This medicine helped me to get rid of serious joint pain in knees I was having. The pain was unbearable, I could not sleep. Finally I was diagnosed with rheumy and was prescribed to take chloroquine. Soon I felt a great relief. So it really works.

  • Meggie
    2020-03-15

    I was using chloroquine for several months (for rheumatoid arthritis). It was very effective at first but its efficiency worsened with time.

  • Lukas
    2020-03-15

    My doctor prescribed me chloroquine and my pediatrician did the same for my children. Both doctors said this drug is safer for stomach than malarone. We are at risk of malaria, and fortunately we didn’t get the infection.

  • Phil, NY
    2020-03-14

    It’s effective for malaria prophylaxis, but you need to take it with only water, no soft drinks and juices.

  • Stephen, Ontario
    2020-03-13

    Been using it for prevention of malaria. Seems to be a good medication. I had no side effects despite relatively long-term intake.

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Goldberg

Dr. Douglas Goldberg, MD is a Cardiology Specialist in Mineola, NY. He is affiliated with medical facilities Nyu Winthrop Hospital and Mercy Medical Center.