Study shows that hydroxychloroquine could increase chance of death in COVID-19 patients

April 22, 2020

The largest study to date of the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients showed that it not only failed to improve symptoms, it increased the chance of death.

For the study, researchers analyzed the records of 368 male patients hospitalized at Veterans Health Administration facilities who were confirmed to have the novel coronavirus. According to the researchers, 28 percent of the patients who were given hydroxychloroquine along with the standard course of care died, compared to 11 percent who received the usual care alone. When given hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, an antibiotic, 22 percent of patients died. Hydroxychloroquine was also not shown to impact whether or not a patient ended up needing a breathing machine.

The study results have not been peer-reviewed.

Hydroxychloroquine, an malaria drug, has been in the national spotlight since President Trump began promoting it as a potential “game-changer” in the fight against coronavirus last month. But many doctors have been expressing concerns about the lack of hard data supporting the use of the drug as well as the potential dangerous side effects, such as heart issues, it can cause.

Earlier this week, Novartis announced that it is launching a randomized trial to study the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients. 

Read the full Associated Press report.