Clinical trials of chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, which initially showed high promise in the fight against COVID-19, have been suspended in Brazil. According to a study by scientists published on the medical portal medRxiv, patients taking the drug have experienced deteriorating health after receiving increased doses of the drug. Chloroquine is one of two drugs that U.S. President Donald Trump recommended for treating coronavirus.
Earlier, Trump repeatedly spoke positively about the antimalarial drug chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, argued that the drug “cannot kill anyone” and announced the encouraging results of treatment with this drug.
It is reported that the clinical trial of the drug was discontinued “for safety reasons” after patients with coronavirus taking a higher dose of chloroquine developed irregular heartbeats, which increased the risk of developing potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmia.
The study involved 81 patients in the city of Manaus. About half of the study participants were given a dose of 450 milligrams of chloroquine twice a day for five days, while the rest were given a higher dose – 600 milligrams twice a day for 10 days. Within three days, researchers began to notice cardiac arrhythmias in patients taking a higher dose. By the sixth day of treatment, 11 patients had died, which led to the immediate completion of the high-dose study phase, supplemented in the report.
It is noted that during treatment, patients also received ceftriaxone and azithromycin.
Last week, the United States began clinical trials of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which doctors intend to use to treat patients with coronavirus infection. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has already announced that it has taken 30 million doses of Sandoz hydroxychloroquine sulfate and Bayer Pharmaceutical’s chlorohydrogen phosphate for use in treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as well as for clinical trials.