US President Donald Trump has revealed he is taking hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug he repeatedly recommended to Americans that was later rubbished by experts.
Trump said he had been taking the controversial medication for weeks, despite warnings from the FDA.
"I think it's good. I've heard a lot good stories. And if it's not good, I'll tell you right, I'm not going to get hurt by it," he said.
Trump has so far tested negative for the virus.
Trump says he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug FDA has cautioned about using for COVID-19. He started "a couple weeks ago"— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 18, 2020
"I think it's good. I've heard a lot good stories. And if it's not good, I'll tell you right, I'm not going to get hurt by it" https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/eFPC0g1Vns
Trump repeatedly has pushed the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin, but no large, rigorous studies have found them safe or effective for preventing or treating Covid-19. They can cause heart rhythm problems and other side effects. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against the drug combo and said hydroxychloroquine should only be used for coronavirus in formal studies.
Two large observational studies, each involving around 1,400 patients in New York, recently found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine. Two new ones published Thursday in the medical journal BMJ reached the same conclusion.
One, by French researchers, gave 84 hospitalized patients the drug and 97 others the usual care. There were no differences in the odds of death, need for intensive care or developing severe illness.
The other study from China was a stricter test: 150 adults hospitalized with mild or moderate illness were randomly assigned to get hydroxychloroquine or usual care. The drug made no difference in rates of clearing the virus or time to relief of symptoms, and they brought more side effects.
In April, the National Institutes of Health launched a study testing hydroxychloroquine versus a placebo drug in 500 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Last week, NIH announced another study to see if hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin can prevent hospitalization or death in people with mild to moderate illness. About 2,000 U.S. adults with confirmed coronavirus infections and symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath will get the drugs or placebo pills.