President Donald Trump said on Monday that he has been taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for the last 10 days, despite the FDA warning of serious side effects.
Trump on Monday echoed past sentiments about the drug. “What do you have to lose?” Trump reiterated.
Trump said that he has heard from doctors and nurses who were taking the drug, which Trump said prompted him to take hydroxychloroquine as a preventative. Trump said he is taking the drug with the approval of a White House doctor.
“All I can tell you is so far, I am okay,” Trump said.
The FDA has said that the drug carries dangerous side effects, and several initial, non-peer reviewed studies indicate that the drug is not an effective treatment for COVID-19.
Last month, the FDA put out guidance that warns 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 have 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.
The FDA previously gave an "emergency use authorization." An EUA allows doctors to use treatments by weighing potential benefits over potential risks.
Last month, a study was conducted at Veterans Health Administration hospitals using a total of 368 patients, which gave victims hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as coronavirus treatments.
The study found no evidence that hydroxychloroquine reduced the risk of mechanical ventilation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The study also found an increased overall mortality rate among those treated with hydroxychloroquine alone.
“These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs,” the study’s authors said.