For weeks President Trump vigorously pushed for Americans to consider taking the malaria-fighting drug hydroxychloroquine, and on Monday the president claimed he was taking the drug to help fight off COVID-19.
"A lot of good things have come out about the hydroxy. A lot of good things have come out. You'd be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers — before you catch it," Trump said at the White House Monday afternoon during a press conference. "I happen to be taking it. I happen to be taking it. ... I'm taking it — hydroxychloroquine — right now."
He said he is taking it to help himself fight off the illness and started “a couple weeks ago.”
When pressed as to why he was using an unproven drug, Trump replied: "Because I think it's good. I've heard a lot of good stories.” He then added, "I'm not going to get hurt by it. It's been around for 40 years.”
Trump said he is taking the drug along with a daily dose of zinc and an initial dose of the antibiotic azithromycin, a combination that has been linked to increased incidences of cardiac arrest, according to Politico.
Trump says he has tested negative for the virus despite people in and around the White House staff testing positive.
Currently there are no proven treatments in fighting coronavirus and the FDA has warned about taking hydroxychloroquine and it has been unfounded in fighting the coronavirus outside of a hospital because of serious heart rhythmic effects.
“Patients who also have other health issues such as heart and kidney disease are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines,” The FDA says on their website.
Hydroxychloroquine is also used to help fight lupus and rheumatoid disease.
Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, said in a statement Monday after the president’s claim that he discussed the drug with Trump.
“After numerous discussions he and I had for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” Conley wrote.
He did not actually say he prescribed the drug to the president or that the president was currently taking it.
“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” the FDA has said on their website. “They are being studied in clinical trials for COVID-19, and we authorized their temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic for treatment of the virus in hospitalized patients when clinical trials are not available, or participation is not feasible, through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).”
The FDA did say that if you are taking the drug in order to fight malaria, lupus, or other rheumatoid diseases continue to do so.
They did issue a warning, saying, “Be aware that there are no proven treatments for COVID-19 and no vaccine. If you are receiving hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 and experience irregular heartbeats, dizziness, or fainting, seek medical attention right away by calling 911.”