About 1. Rheumatoid arthritis is similarly rare, striking about 41 out of every , people each year, causing them inflammation that drives joint pain and damaging multiple body systems. And not all of those patients are on Plaquenil, meaning that there's neither a massive supply nor demand of it sitting on pharmacy shelves.
Some pharmacists have seen their stocks of the drugs depleted almost immediately. More than 25, Americans now have coronavirus and more than have died. Distress over the pandemic has fueled a scramble for unproven drugs like hydroxychloroquine, which is being tested as an experimental treatment in the US.
Chloroquine is FDA-approved for treating lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in addition to malaria in the US, and companies are already reporting shortages of it. Within an hour, they were completely sold out, pharmacy president Brian Brito told ProPublica.
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One doctor requested of the tablets, but the pharmacy turned him down. Other pharmacists reported that doctors called in prescriptions for chloroquine, claiming it was for spouses or family members with lupus, and they needed unlimited refills. Pharmacists are doing their best to bat back inappropriate requests for the drug. West Virginia's pharmacy association issued an order that only 30 tablets of the drug can be prescribed at a time. But since President Trump touted hydroxychloroquine as a 'game-changer' last week, demand and prescriptions have surged.
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A University of Utah drug shortage monitoring program reports shortages already for hydroxychloroquine tablets made by four companies - Amneal, Mylan, Major and Teva. Tablets made by Zydus, Concordia which makes the brand name drug, Plaquenil , Sandoz and Prasco are still available. Doctors are only meant to prescribe it some coronavirus patients, largely for the purpose of collecting data on the drug's effects in combination with the common antibiotic, azithromycin.
But health officials and the FDA have repeatedly cautioned that the drugs are unproven. However, Dr Anthony Fauci of the White House's coronavirus task force has repeatedly warned that the drug is not proven and should not be seen as a magic bullet. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
US doctors are hoarding drugs being tested for treating coronavirus
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Share or comment on this article: US doctors are hoarding drugs being tested for treating coronavirus e-mail Comments Share what you think. View all. Add your comment. Enter your comment. Theresa Tam said the pandemic crisis has brought forward many ideas from researchers around the world, but they must be clinically tested.
FDA: Studies Underway to Evaluate Chloroquine for COVID-19
Chloroquine has been used since the s to treat malaria, and more recently by those with lupus and chronic rheumatoid arthritis. But when taken in incorrect doses, it has dangerous side effects, including death. Even when taken correctly, it can cause stomach distress and vision damage. Hydroxychloroquine is considered a generally safer alternative, though in rare cases it can damage the heart. Doctors in Nigeria have reported cases of poisonings with chloroquine, which is widely available without prescription in many countries.
But officials at the U.
Here Are Five Reasons To Be Wary Of Chloroquine For Treating The Coronavirus
But it said it was working with researchers to determine whether chloroquine can be used "to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID to potentially reduce the duration of symptoms, as well as viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease. Small-scale studies in China and France have shown some positive effects of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in reducing both the duration and symptoms of COVID in combination with an antibiotic called azithromycin. Researchers and clinicians in the U. But Juurlink stresses that the evidence so far is anecdotal, rather than the scientifically rigorous, randomized and controlled clinical studies that are normally used over several years in the development and approval of drugs.
Juurlink said a vaccine is a year or 18 months away but that data gathered worldwide could point to safe and effective treatments within a month or two. We will look back a year from now and marvel at how much was done in such a short time, but we are just at the beginning of it all.
The key right now is preventing and slowing the spread of the virus to give researchers and clinicians the time to develop treatments to minimize symptoms and get people out of hospital faster. Drug-maker Novartis has vowed to donate up to million doses of hydroxychloroquine to support the global pandemic response. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said it plans to donate more than 10 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine to hospitals in the U. Bayer also said it would donate three million tablets of its chloroquine phosphate drug, sold under the name Resochin.
Concerned about a run on the drugs amid shortages reported in the U. For those living with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, hydroxychloroquine is proven to reduce mortality by 50 per cent, prevent disease flares and cardiovascular complications, and reduce the need for hospitalization, according to a press release from Lupus Canada. More coronavirus coverage Interactive. Coronavirus in Canada. Map: Tracking the spread around the world. Facts Vs. Who is most at risk of dying from coronavirus?
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