DOH warns antimalarial drugs are not a safe way to prevent COVID-19

DOH warns antimalarial drugs are not a safe way to prevent COVID-19
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Health officials are warning the public that using non-approved drugs such as antimalarial medication does not prevent or treat COVID-19 .

Right now, the CDC says there is no medicine approved to prevent or treat COVID-19 and despite other reports, using antimalarial medicine in such means is potentially dangerous, the DOH says.

“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause severe cardiac toxicity, and in high doses over a long duration, can cause retinal damage and lead to permanent blindness,” said Dr. Alvin Bronstein, DOH Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch Chief.

“Individuals using these medications without physician supervision run serious risks of side effects and potential overdoses. Other medications are being touted, but nothing has been proven to be effective and may even do more harm than good,” Bronstein added.

The health department added that hydroxychloroquine is used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus.

Chloroquine has been demonstrated to be effective for malaria, lupus and chronic rheumatoid arthritis, but has significant side effects, including gastrointestinal distress and potential permanent vision damage.

If you or someone you know has taken chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine and are experiencing adverse reactions, call 911; the Hawaii Regional Poison Center at 800-222-1222; or seek immediate medical care.

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