|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 266-267
Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic agent for Covid-19
Irfan Yousuf Wani1, Iqra Mehraj2
1 Department of Medicine, GMC, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, GMC, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
|Date of Submission||19-Apr-2020|
|Date of Decision||04-May-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||23-May-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||10-Jul-2020|
Dr. Irfan Yousuf Wani
Department of Medicine, GMC, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Wani IY, Mehraj I. Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic agent for Covid-19. Curr Med Issues 2020;18:266-7
Till date, there is lack of evidence for approving a drug as a prophylactic agent for COVID-19. However, on March 22, 2020, the National Task Force for COVID-19 constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection for high-risk population, which included asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. The dose recommended was 400 mg twice a day on 1st day, followed by 400 mg weekly for 7 weeks. This advisory was based on somein vitro studies which had shown HCQ to be effective against coronavirus., The same was shown in one small nonrandomized clinical study also. However, some other trials have shown no benefits with this drug.,
After 3 weeks of the recommendation, we did an online survey in our region, i.e., Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, after taking approval from our institutional ethical clearance committee, to see how many doctors have accepted this recommendation and whether those who had taken HCQ had any side effects. One hundred doctors accepted and gave informed consent to take part in this online survey. Of 100 doctors, only 37 had started taking HCQ. Of 63 doctors who did not take HCQ, 24 said that there was lack of evidence in favor of HCQ, 17 said that they did not take as they were afraid in view of the side effect profile, especially QT prolongation, 16 were not involved in the management of COVID 19 patients, whereas rest said that they did not take HCQ as it was not recommended by the USFDA. Thirty out of 37 doctors who had started HCQ took the medication only after discussing with their colleagues, whereas the rest of seven said that they took it believing that something was better than nothing. Side effects were reported by eight doctors, which included loose motions in three, itching in three, gastritis in one, and myalgia in one. Because of these side effects, five doctors modified the dose on their own by either decreasing the second dose by half or increasing the duration between the first two doses. After doing this survey, we came to the conclusion that recommendations even if given by national healthcare bodies will be accepted by majority of the doctors only if backed by evidence even if such recommendations come when nothing else is available. Second, that gastrointestinal symptoms are the main side effects of HCQ. Till date, none of these doctors have tested positive for COVID-19. Now, whether HCQ does help anyone among the group of doctors who have taken HCQ or not only time will tell.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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