Update on the combination: hydroxychloroquine/Chloroquine and Azithromycin.

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump was criticized for practicing medicine with his support of the combination of hydroxychloroquine/Chloroquine and Azithromycin.  Here we are three weeks later and guess what, it is now the standard of care. Standard of care is not the same as being approved for the indications. It does indicate that this combination should be used in specific situations as a treatment of choice.  A French researcher concluded after study he conducted, “In conclusion, we confirm the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine associated with azithromycin in the treatment of COVID-19 and its potential effectiveness in the early impairment of contagiousness. Given the urgent therapeutic need to manage this disease with effective and safe drugs and given the negligible cost of both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, we believe that other teams should urgently evaluate this therapeutic strategy both to avoid the spread of the disease and to treat patients before severe irreversible respiratory complications take hold.”  The researcher added to reinforce the standard of care, “Our study concerns 80 patients, without a control group because we offer our protocol to all patients with no contraindication. This is what the Hippocratic Oath that we have taken dictates to us.

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Daniel Hinthorn followed up these thoughts in co-authored editorial with Jeff Coyler in the Wall Street Journal when they wrote, “We have decades of experience in treating infectious diseases and dealing with epidemics, and we believe in safety and efficacy. We don’t want to peddle false hope; we have seen promising drugs turn out to be duds.

But the public expects an answer, and we don’t have the luxury of time. We have a drug with an excellent safety profile but limited clinical outcomes—and no better alternatives until long after this disaster peaks. We can use this treatment to help save lives and prevent others from becoming infected. Or we can wait several weeks and risk discovering we didn’t do everything we could to end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”  And they concurred with President Trump decision to promote the drug combination, “President Trump touted hydroxychloroquine in his Thursday press conference as a potential treatment, which is a welcome move. And this isn’t only about treatment. Rapid and strategic use of these drugs could help arrest the spread of the disease.”  

This drug combination is a step in controlling this virus and will save lives.  Like Trump, I was criticized for discussing this combination but now I have been proven correct again.  I have noted that there are side effects with these drugs and that we are still learning how best to use this combination but added, it appeared to be a valuable aid in saving lives and stopping the spread of the virus. 

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