FDA Grants Emergency Approval To Anti-Malarial Drugs

The Washington Post reports:

The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval to a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to hospitals across the country, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the progression of the disease in seriously ill coronavirus patients.

There have only been a few, very small anecdotal studies that show a possible benefit of the drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, to relieve the acute respiratory symptoms of Covid-19 and clear the virus from infected patients.

And health experts warn the drugs’ well-known side effects could become more commonplace with much wider use. In particular, they say, patients with existing heart problems or taking certain drugs such as anti-depressants that affect heart rhythm are at risk of a fatal episode. Experts recommend screening before the drugs are prescribed to prevent drug-related deaths.