Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for Coronavirus Treatment

hydroxychloroquineThe number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, so effective treatment methods are extremely important. Physicians are looking at already existing drugs because they are approved and well-tested, while specific anti-COVID meds will appear on shelves not soon. The humanity needs effective therapeutic methods to fight this hazardous disease, therefore coronavirus treatments are unceasingly studied with a high speed. Hydroxychloroquine has shown promising results.

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What Is Hydroxychloroquine?

This pharmaceutical was approved for therapeutic use in the US back in 1955. Originally, the medication was intended for treatment of uncomplicated malaria and malaria prevention. It is also used to treat some autoimmune disorders, such as acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

However, its antiviral activity has allowed physicians and researchers to assume is COVID treatment potential. This potential was recently confirmed by preliminary tests.

The medication is quickly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract after intake. The elimination of the drug from the system is slow, its half-life is about 30-50 days, depending on the biological fluids.

How can Chloroquine Treat Coronavirus?

The medication is similar to chloroquine, a medication which has recently gained FDA approval for test treatment of coronavirus illness. It’s logical to assume that hydroxychloroquine is effective too (and the assumption has been confirmed – see below). Researchers believe that its produce immunomodulatory effect and helps to control cytokine storm which occurs in individuals having critical stage of COVID-2019 disease.

Healthcare experts are testing hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID and recent results from laboratories seem to prove it. Early data is promising, so the medication can be used for treating coronavirus disease.

Besides treatment properties, clinicians have suggested that the medicine may be a choice for prophylaxis, for instance, when a person have had a close contact with a possible carrier of COVID-2019.

Some in vitro studies (outside the normal biological context) have shown that hydroxychloroquine might be more effective than chloroquine, a medication which was recently approved as a test treatment of coronavirus by the FDA.

How to Take the Medication for Coronavirus?

There is no currently available information from randomized clinical trials on proper dosing and duration of the therapy with the drug for the novel coronavirus treatment.

However, as reported by the US CDC, some American clinicians have reported anecdotally different schemas of using the medication for coronavirus:

  • 400mg B.I.D. on the first day, then on an everyday basis for 5 days,
  • 400mg BID – 1st day, then 200mg BID for 4 days,
  • 600mg BID – 1st day, after that 400mg daily on days 2-5.

An explanation: B.I.D. is an abbreviation for ‘bis in die’ phrase which in Latin language means twice a day.

It would seem reasonable to use not too high doses of the medication, considering the probability of increasing side effect risk in case of taking too much.

The tablets should be ingested with food or washed down with a glass of milk.

Where to Buy Hydroxychloroquine?

The medication is available in many online pharmacies, including ours. My Canadian Health and Care Mall has dealt with it for a long time, and now increased customers’ demand is observed.

Potential Side Effects

The drug can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rarely vomiting. These symptoms usually disappear after a dose reduction or treatment discontinuation. Sometimes a medication can cause dizziness, tinnitus, hearing loss, headache, nervousness, emotional instability, psychosis, and convulsions. Skeletal muscle myopathy or neuromyopathy is possible, which can lead to progressive weakness and atrophy of proximal muscle groups, such as the musculature of neck and scapular region.

Retinopathy with a change in pigmentation and visual field defects is a rather rare but dangerous side effect. At an early stage, it is reversible after discontinuation of the drug. If you do not stop using the drug in time, there is a risk of progression of retinopathy.

The risk of side effects increases significantly when the dose is exceeded, so adherence to established recommendations is mandatory.

Caution is advised for hepatic or renal disorder or immunosuppression.

Nonetheless, at the moment, available data indicates that it features good tolerability in patients with coronavirus disease. This may be explained by short duration of treatment. For instance, when it is administered for autoimmune disorders, it can be taken on an ongoing basis, so the influence on the organism is persistent in this case.

Drug Interactions

With simultaneous use with digoxin (a cardiotonic and antiarrhythmic agent), an increase in the concentration of digoxin in the blood plasma is observed. Aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as streptomycin, enhance the blocking effect of hydroxychloroquine on neuromuscular transmission. Therefore, if you plan to also use antibiotics, consult your doctor to find out if a combination of a specific antibiotic with Plaquenil is safe.

There’s no known interaction between alcoholic refreshments and this medication.

Conclusion

The medication seems to be a promising. Its competitor, chloroquine, is more tested and researched, but this is due to the fact that it therapeutic properties were revealed earlier. Considering that chloroquine might be out of stock in many pharmacies, it would be a good idea to use hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil).

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.