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The Risks of Prescribing Hydroxychloroquine for Treatment of COVID-19—First, Do No Harm

Educational Objective
To understand the dangers of prescribing Hydroxychloroquine for Treatment of COVID-19
1 Credit CME

On March 21, 2020, President Donald Trump tweeted that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”1 The president later said of hydroxychloroquine, “What do you have to lose? I’ll say it again: What do you have to lose? Take it.”2

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Published Online: April 29, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1853

Corresponding Author: Robert M. Wachter, MD, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 533 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94143 (robert.wachter@ucsf.edu).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
1.
@realDonaldTrump. HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains - Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents)… March 21, 2020. Accessed April 17, 2020. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1241367239900778501?lang=en
2.
The White House. Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the Coronavirus Task Force in press briefing. April 5, 2020. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-vice-president-pence-members-coronavirus-task-force-press-briefing-19/
3.
Vigdor  N . Man fatally poisons himself while self-medicating for coronavirus, doctor says. New York Times. March 24, 2020. Accessed April 17, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/us/chloroquine-poisoning-coronavirus.html.
4.
Liu  M , Caputi  TL , Drezde  M , Kesselheim  AS , Ayers  JW .  Internet searches for unproven COVID-19 therapies in the United States.   JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 29, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1764Google Scholar
5.
International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. Statement on IJAA paper. April 3, 2020. Accessed April 10, 2020. http://www.isac.world/news-and-publications/official-isac-statement
6.
Chen  Z , Hu  J , Zhang  Z ,  et al  Efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19: results of a randomized clinical trial.  Preprint. Posted online April 10, 2020. medRxiv. doi:10.1101/2020.03.22.20040758
7.
Marsh  T . Live updates: which drugs are in shortage because of COVID-19? GoodRx website. Accessed April 13, 2020. https://www.goodrx.com/blog/covid-19-drug-shortages-updates/.
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