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May 22, 2020, 2:08 p.m. EDT

Hydroxychloroquine, touted by Trump, associated with higher risk of death in study

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By Jaimy Lee

An observational study published Friday in The Lancet and examining 96,032 COVID-19 patients in 671 hospitals across six continents concluded that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine had no benefit on outcomes while those patients were in the hospital. The therapies are associated with ventricular arrhythmias and mortality in COVID-19 patients taking them while in the hospital. "These findings suggest that these drug regimens should not be used outside of clinical trials and urgent confirmation from randomised clinical trials is needed," the researchers wrote. The drugs, which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, were granted emergency authorization during the pandemic and have been regularly touted by President Donald Trump, who said this week that he had been taking hydroxychloroquine. A number of clinical trials are underway evaluating the medications as both a treatment or a prophylactic for those at high-risk of contracting the virus.

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