US regulators on Monday revoked emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for treating COVID-19 amid growing evidence they could cause deadly side effects, The Associated Press reported.
The Food and Drug Administration said the drugs are unlikely to be effective in treating the coronavirus. Citing reports of heart complications, the FDA said the drugs’ unproven benefits “do not outweigh the known and potential risks.”
The move means that shipments of the drugs obtained by the federal government will no longer be distributed to state and local health authorities for use against the coronavirus. The drugs are still available for alternate uses, so US doctors could still prescribe them for COVID-19 — a practice known as off-label prescribing.
US President Donald Trump aggressively pushed the drug beginning in the first weeks of the outbreak and revealed in mid-May that he was on a regimen of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.
A May 22 study in the Lancet raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients but several authors of that study retracted it earlier this month.
Following the publication of the Lancet report, the World Health Organization announced that it would be temporarily halting the use of hydroxychloroquine part of its global Solidarity trial amid a safety review.
The French health ministry later also announced it would be banning the use of hydroxychloroquine as a cure for coronavirus.
Source: Arutz Sheva