Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 has been pushed as a possible treatment for those who have contracted the disease. Here’s what to know.
Even with the containment measures that many states have in place, COVID-19 has continued to spread. The United States continues to lead in the number of cases, with over a million people infected, which means it is especially critical right now to protect yourself and others with frequent handwashing, social distancing, and wearing a mask when encountering other people.
But what about those who have already been exposed to the coronavirus? Does anything help to manage symptoms and the progression of the disease?
What Is Hydroxychloroquine?
One possible treatment that has gained attention over the past few months is a drug called hydroxychloroquine. Traditionally used as an anti-malarial medication, hydroxychloroquine treats inflammation, which is one symptom that infected people often exhibit in the lungs.
How Does Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 Work?
This medication works by increasing intracellular pH and thus limiting inflammation in the lungs. Inflammation is an immunological response, and when a person is infected with the coronavirus, it triggers an overreaction of the immune system. By prohibiting and slowing inflammation, the drug can help patients suffering from these symptoms.
While hydroxychloroquine may be useful in the treatment of this disease, it is important to speak to a doctor before taking it. In fact, the FDA recently revoked the emergency use authorization of the drug because of the “serious cardiac adverse events and other potential serious side effects” in those who have taken the drug to treat COVID-19.
Are There Other Options?
Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 is not the only option that people suffering from the disease have. Hospitals, scientists, and researchers around the world are testing many possible treatments, including:
- Remdesivir, an antiviral that is currently being tested in controlled environments
- Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid used to treat autoimmune disorders and allergic reactions
- Convalescent plasma with coronavirus antibodies, the liquid part of the blood that carries the cells throughout the body
- Actemra, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
- Kaletra, an HIV medication containing two antiviral medications
It is critical for patients to understand that there is currently no cure for COVID-19. The decision to use any of the above medications is a decision between physicians and their patients.
What to Do If You Develop Symptoms
The precautions that we take during the pandemic—handwashing, social distancing, wearing a mask, and others—are not only designed to help keep you safe. They are meant to keep others safe, too. We all have a part to play in slowing the spread of this virus. If you begin to develop symptoms but do not need medical attention, stay at home to keep the virus from spreading. If you live with others, quarantine yourself in a single room. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain or pressure in the chest
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor to learn what you need to do.
Get in touch with us today if you have any questions about hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 or other medication availability.