In initial tests conducted in the United States, more than 27% of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine died. The mortality rate in the group that was not treated with the drug was 11.4%.
A study conducted by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs linked the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of patients with Covid-19 to a higher mortality rate. A previous version of the study was shared by experts on medRxiv, last Thursday (16).
In early March, Donald Trump reported that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved tests with the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients infected with the new coronavirus. In initial tests, the drug, normally used to treat malaria, appeared to be effective.
However, in recent tests carried out in China and France, the effectiveness of the drug has been called into question. Now the new study suggests that, instead of helping to improve those infected with Covid-19, the use of hydroxychloroquine may result in the opposite: a considerable worsening of the condition.
The study followed 368 men infected with the new coronavirus: 97 received hydroxychloroquine, 113 received hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, and 158 did not receive hydroxychloroquine. According to the researchers, mortality rates in the groups treated with the drug were notably worse than those in the group that did not receive the drug.
According to the study, more than 27% of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and 22% of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic died. The mortality rate of the group that was not treated with the drug was much lower: 11.4%.
“An association of increased overall mortality was identified in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone,” wrote the study authors. “These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs.”
A study conducted by Brazilian doctors that tested the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of Covid-19 was canceled last week. According to a previous version of the article, published on medRxiv, they chose to cancel the tests when they realized that a quarter of the tested patients developed heart rhythm problems.
The study planned to analyze how 440 patients with Covid-19 reacted to two doses of hydroxychloroquine. However, the worsening of the conditions and the increase in the mortality rate led the researchers to cancel the research after carrying out the tests in 81 patients.