Wow! Hydroxychloroquine just can’t stay out of the news! For those of you taking this medicine for years, it is a shocking change from before when no one had ever heard of your medicine and certainly, couldn’t pronounce it! Initially, promoted as a potential beneficial treatment, Hydroxychloroquine now has an uncertain role 6 weeks later. Trials are ongoing and it’s still too early to tell, but many hospitals are using the medicine nation-wide to treat COVID patients who are sick. There remains NO evidence that Hydroxychloroquine has any benefit as a preventative treatment and should not be taken as such. Importantly, if you’re on Hydroxychloroquine from us, do not assume the medicine will prevent you from contracting COVID-19. The best way to do that is to WASH your hands, stay 6 feet apart from others, and don’t touch your face. Continue taking Hydroxychloroquine as prescribed but don’t stop doing all those other safety measures. There have been shortages of the medicine in the last few weeks. Check with your pharmacist to see how they are doing with their supply. If you are experiencing a medication shortage, you can cut your dose in half for a few weeks to stretch out your prescription. BUT we would not encourage you to do that unless you cannot get enough tablets from your pharmacy. Many of our local small pharmacies are doing a great job watching out for their established Hydroxychloroquine patients and making sure they have enough tablets. So, don’t cut your dose unless you have to.
More recently, there have been news reports about the heart danger of Hydroxychloroquine and we are getting some calls about that. The heart rhythm problem in the news is quite rare. The risk for this problem is higher when Hydroxychloroquine was combined with another medicine (azithromycin) in the original COVID trial. Finally, please understand that there are many protocols and dosages of Hydroxychloroquine being used to treat COVID in hospitalized patients. If you’ve been taking Hydroxychloroquine please continue to do so and don’t worry about this very rare heart rhythm. Your risk is very small.