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Coronavirus cure: Why hydroxychloroquine drug has been recommended by ICMR?


New Delhi, March 23: The Indian Council of Medical Research has recommended hydroxychloroquine drug, which is an oral tablet, for treating healthcare workers tackling the suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases and also the asymptomatic household contacts of the lab-confirmed cases.

The recommendation came a day after Jordan 's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised physicians to use hydroxychloroquine along with an antiviral medicine as a treatment for coronavirus.

Coronavirus cure: Why hydroxychloroquine drug has been recommended by ICMR?

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, is a medication used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria.

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Specifically it is used for chloroquine-sensitive malaria. Other uses include treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda. It is taken by mouth.

Common side effects include

  • vomiting,
  • headache,
  • changes in vision and
  • muscle weakness.

Severe side effects may include:

  • allergic reactions
  • blurred vision or other vision changes
  • breathing
  • sore throat
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • blue-black skin color
  • ringing in your ears or hearing loss
  • angioedema, or rapid swelling of your skin
  • hives
  • mild or severe bronchospasm that causes trouble
  • muscle weakness
  • hair loss or hair that becomes lighter
  • abnormal mood changes

Although all risk cannot be excluded, it remains a treatment for rheumatic disease during pregnancy. Hydroxychloroquine is in the antimalarial and 4-aminoquinoline families of medication.

The drug label advises that hydroxychloroquine should not be prescribed to individuals with known hypersensitivity to 4-aminoquinoline compounds. There are a range of other contraindications and caution is required if patients have certain heart conditions, diabetes, psoriasis etc.

How it works:

Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug. It treats malaria by killing the parasites that cause the disease.

It isn't fully understood how this drug works to treat lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis. However, it's believed that this drug affects how your immune system works, which may be a benefit in lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.


Diabetic patients: Hydroxychloroquine and diabetes drugs all decrease your blood sugar level. Taking hydroxychloroquine with these drugs could cause low blood sugar. Your doctor may need to reduce your dosage of insulin other diabetes drugs.

Skin problems: This drug may worsen the skin conditions psoriasis and porphyria.

Liver problems or alcohol misuse: Liver problems or a history of alcohol misuse can make this drug less effective.

Senior citizens: This drug is processed by your kidneys. Since, older adults with reduced kidney function may not be able to process this drug well, which can increase the risk of side effects, including vision damage.

Pregnant women: This drug should be avoided in pregnancy. Studies show that the drug can be passed through the mother's bloodstream to the baby.

Interaction with other medication:

Recently, US President Donald Trump urged Americans to take a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin drugs apparently against coronavirus infections.

However, medicos and scientists remained divided over taking hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin drugs together.

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According to Professor ED, Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin should not be taken together "because they increase the risk of fatal cardiac arrhythmia due to QTc prolongation".

"Hundreds of Coronavirus deaths have been documented as a result of SECONDARY bacterial infection in those weakened by the primary virus. That's why the dual treatment of antibiotic Azithromycin AND hydroxychloroquine is so promising," America First host Sebastian Gorka tweeted.

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