Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the management of COVID-19: Much kerfuffle but little evidence.
Therapie. 2020 May 23;:
Authors: Roustit M, Guilhaumou R, Molimard M, Drici MD, Laporte S, Montastruc JL, French Society of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (SFPT)
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are drugs that have shown in vitro activity on the replication of certain coronaviruses. In the context of the SARS-Cov-2 epidemic, the virus responsible for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), these two drugs have been proposed as possible treatments. The results of the first clinical studies evaluating the effect of hydroxychloroquine do not support any efficacy of this drug in patients with COVID-19, due to major methodological weaknesses. Yet, these preliminary studies have aroused considerable media interest, raising fears of massive and uncontrolled use. In the absence of evidence of clinical benefits, the main risk is of exposing patients unnecessarily to the well-known adverse effects of hydroxychloroquine, with a possibly increased risk in the specific setting of COVID-19. In addition, widespread use outside of any recommendation risks compromising the completion of good quality clinical trials. The chloroquine hype, fueled by low-quality studies and media announcements, has yielded to the implementation of more than 150 studies worldwide. This represents a waste of resources and a loss of opportunity for other drugs to be properly evaluated. In the context of emergency, rigorous trials are more than ever needed in order to have, as soon as possible, reliable data on drugs that are possibly effective against the disease. Meanwhile, serious adverse drug reactions have been reported in patients with COVID-19 receiving hydroxychloroquine, justifying to limit its prescription, and to perform suitable cardiac and therapeutic drug monitoring.
PMID: 32473812 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]