On Monday, May 18, 2020, President Donald Trump of US openly confessed to taking hydroxychloroquine, azythromycine and zinc tablets. Since then all hell has been let loose. Experts, pundits, political opponents, never-Trumpers, GOP-Die-hards, etc, have all gone to town with their various opinionated pros and cons on the advisability of taking hydroxychloroquine.
One of my respondents sent a text, and before I could reply, he called directly, “Doc, is hydroxychloroquine not the same as chloroquine”. That did it for me. I decided to re-educate us and discuss hydroxychloroquine.
The total pharmacology, is that hydroxychloroquine is the toxic form of chloroquine. Again hydroxychloroquine is not easily available in Nigeria. What we find easily in Nigeria is chloroquine phosphate. So let us discuss hydroxychloroquine.
Generic name – hydroxychloroquine
Brand name – Plaquinil, Plaquinil Sulphate, Quinepox. According to Drugs.com.
What is hydroxychloroquine?
Hydroxychloroquine is a quinoline medicine, used to treat or prevent malaria, a disease caused by parasites that enter the body through the bite of a mosquito. Malaria, we know is common in Africa, South America and Southern Asia.
Hydroxychloroquine is not effective against all species of malaria, just like chloroquine.
Hydroxychloroquine is also used to treat symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis, or Systemic Lupus Erythromatosus(SLS).
NB – Hydroxychloroquine has not been officially approved by WHO, to treat corona virus or COVID-19.
However the US Food and Drugs Administration(FDA) – has authorized emergency use of hydroxychloroquine in adults and adolescents weighing 50kg or above, who are hospitalized with COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine is being used to try and stop corona virus from spreading inside your body.
It is not yet known if hydroxychloroquine is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19, and this use is still experimental.
Taking hydroxychloroquine long-term or at high doses may cause irreversible damage to the retina of your eyes.
Stop taking hydroxychloroquine and consult your doctor at once, if you have, blurry vision, blind spots, trouble reading, changes in your colour vision, increased sensitivity to light.
Before using hydroxychloroquine tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have psoriasis, porphyria, liver disease, alcoholism or G-6-PD Deficiency.
Take hydroxychloroquine for the full prescribed length of time for malaria and stop. Your symptoms may improve before all the infection is completely cleared.
When treating Lupus or arthritis, tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 6 months of treatment.