President Donald Trump once again promoted hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment despite a number of trials disputing its efficacy.
Questions on Trump’s support of the largely unproven drug comes as Trump retweeted a video that called the drug a “cure” for the coronavirus. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have since pulled the video from their platforms.
The video also caused Twitter to suspend the account of Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.
Major public health organizations have disputed the efficacy of the drug. Early results of the drug’s usage in peer reviewed trials have not been promising, according to the FDA. The FDA has banned the use of the drug to treat coronavirus outside of hospital and clinical trial settings.
But Trump continues to place hopes in hydroxychloroquine.
“I happen to believe in it. I would take it,” Trump said on Tuesday. “As you know, I took it for a 14-day period, and I'm here. Right? I'm here. I happen to think it's -- it works in the early stages.”
Recently, the White House began promoting a study by the Henry Ford Health System, which did indicate that the drug reduced mortality. But a number of other studies have not been able to replicate Henry Ford Health System's findings. Most recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published last week a study that indicated that the drug did not improve coronavirus outcomes.
But the FDA has said that the drug carries dangerous side effects, and several initial studies indicated that the drug is not an effective treatment for COVID-19.
In June, the FDA withdrew an emergency use authorization of the drug. An EUA allowed doctors to use treatments by weighing potential benefits over potential risks.
“We made this determination based on recent results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery,” the FDA said. “This outcome was consistent with other new data, including those showing the suggested dosing for these medicines are unlikely to kill or inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.”
In April, the FDA first put out guidance that warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to possible side effects. The FDA added that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine had not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19.
The FDA said that hydroxychloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms, and patients who also have other health issues such as heart and kidney disease are likely to be at increased risk of complications.
Hydroxychloroquine, a treatment that is commonly used to treat malaria and lupus, can be provided as a treatment for COVID-19 patients on an experimental basis.