Is Plaquenil Treatment For COVID-19

The drug Plaquenil has drawn a lot of focus and interest amidst the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and across the globe.  What is this malaria prevention drug and is it the wonder drug to put an end to the COVID-19 threat?

The following information was obtained from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.  Clinical testing and data studies are still being gathered, but human trials currently look very promising as a treatment.

What is hydroxychloroquine?
Hydroxychloroquine is an arthritis medicine that also can be used to prevent malaria. It is available in the United States by prescription only. It is sold under the brand name Plaquenil and it is also sold as a generic medicine. Hydroxychloroquine can be prescribed for either prevention or treatment of malaria.

Who can take hydroxychloroquine?
Hydroxychloroquine can be prescribed to adults and children of all ages. It can also be safely taken by pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Can I buy hydroxychloroquine?
Antimalarial drugs are available in the United States by prescription only. Medicines should be obtained at a pharmacy before travel rather than in the destination country. Buying medications abroad has its risks: the drugs could be of poor quality, contaminated, or counterfeit and not protect you against malaria… or treating coronavirus.

Will Plaquenil interact with other medications?
Some other drugs can interact with hydroxychloroquine and cause problems. Your doctor is responsible for evaluating the other medicines you are taking to ensure that there are no harmful interactions between them and hydroxychloroquine. In some instances, medicines can be adjusted to minimize the interaction. You can also ask your pharmacist to check for drug interactions.

What are the potential side effects?
Hydroxychloroquine is a relatively well tolerated medicine. The most common adverse reactions reported are stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache. These side effects can often be lessened by taking hydroxychloroquine with food. Hydroxychloroquine may also cause itching in some people.All medicines may have some side effects. Minor side effects such as nausea, occasional vomiting, or diarrhea usually do not require stopping the antimalarial drug. If you cannot tolerate your antimalarial drug, see your health care provider; other antimalarial drugs are available.

How long is it safe to use Plaquenil?
CDC has no limits on the use of hydroxychloroquine. When hydroxychloroquine is used at higher doses for many years, a rare eye condition called retinopathy has occurred. People who take hydroxychloroquine for more than five years should get regular eye exams.

Again, Plaqueril is a prescription drug.  If you feel you are sick or have coronavirus symptoms, seek instruction from a licensed physician or medical professional.

Information obtained from the CDC website

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