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President Trump said that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine to stave off the novel coronavirus, according to Fox News.
Trump said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.”
The president’s physician is Dr. Sean Conley. He announced in a statement Monday night, “After numerous discussions he and I had about regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”
Trump has argued the drug is a potential cure for COVID-19, but there is no consensus on its effectiveness or safety.
Trump said his doctor did not recommend the drug to him, but he requested it from the White House physician.
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“I started taking it, because I think it’s good,” Trump said. “I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”
“You have to have a discussion with your doctor to decide if it is best for you,” Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a Fox News medical contributor responded. “It is not going to be good for everyone but it may be beneficial and potentially life-saving for others.”
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at the Vanderbilt Medical Center, said, “I certainly would not recommend that people in the U.S. ask their physicians to prescribe hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of Covid.”
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Dr. Rob Davidson, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, advised his followers to ignore the president.
“There is no evidence of benefit and there is evidence of harm,” Davidson tweeted. “Trump is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands. Let’s not add to that number.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., tweeted that repeated studies have shown hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work for COVID-19 patients.
Others cast doubt on whether Trump was telling the truth.
“If Trump has really been taking hydroxychloroquine for the past ‘week-and-a-half’ as he just blurted [out] at a press conference, do we really think he would have been able to keep his mouth shut about it?” tweeted Glenn Kirschner, a legal analyst for NBC and MSNBC.
Following the president’s comments, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto told his viewers, “If you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment to ward off the virus, or in a worse-case scenario you are dealing with the virus and you are in this vulnerable population, it will kill you. I cannot stress this enough. This will kill you.”
The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine can cause heart rhythm problems and other side effects. The Food and Drug Administration has said hydroxychloroquine should only be used for coronavirus in formal studies.
Two large observational studies, each involving around 1,400 patients in New York, recently found no benefit from the drug. Two new studies published Thursday in the medical journal BMJ reached the same conclusion.
Dear @realDonaldTrump: You may want to check with your physician before you continue taking #Hydroxychloroquine. Repeated studies show it doesn’t work for #COVID19 patients. And for some people, the drug increases the risk of death. https://t.co/1slNXoUeBu
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 18, 2020
If Trump has really been taking hydroxychloroquine for the past “week-and-a-half” as he just blurted our at a press conference, do we really think he would have been able to keep his mouth shut about it? Come on, man!
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) May 18, 2020
Today @realDonaldTrump announced that’s he’s taking Hydroxychloroquine to prevent #COVID19. This is dangerous. Ignore him. There is no evidence of benefit and there is evidence of harm. Trump is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands. Let’s not add to that number. pic.twitter.com/fN5sZg72jH
— Dr. Rob Davidson (@DrRobDavidson) May 18, 2020