Chloroquine Study For Coronavirus Paused Due To Heart Complications
According to the New York Times, a small research trial of chloroquine for coronavirus being carried out in Brazil has been halted by the authorities. Trial patients who took a higher dose of chloroquine developed irregular heart rates, which increased their risk of fatal heart complications. Chloroquine, closely related to hydroxychloroquine, was promoted as a potential treatment for coronavirus by Trump despite concerns from medical experts.
Research trial of chloroquine for coronavirus in Brazil halted
In March, the Food and Drug Administration gave hospitals emergency approval to raid the national stockpile for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to use if clinical trials couldn't be done. The Brazilian study, involving 81 hospitalized patients in the city of Manaus, was sponsored by the Brazilian state of Amazonas. The research was made available on an online server for medical articles so that it can undergo peer reviews by other experts.
During the study, half the participants received 450 milligrams of chloroquine twice daily for five days, while the rest received a higher dose of 600 milligrams for 10 days. The researchers started noticing heart arrhythmias in patients taking the higher dose within three days. 11 patients died by day 6 of the treatment, forcing the discontinuation of the high-dose side of the trial.
Afterwards, infectious disease experts confirmed that the trial provided evidence that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, two drugs used to treat malaria, can pose significant harm to some patients, specifically the risk of a fatal heart arrhythmia.
For Dr David Juurlink, an internist and the head of the division of clinical pharmacology at the University of Toronto, the research was not a total failure. To him, the study's reveal of the possibility of a cardiac arrest depending on the dose of chloroquine is important.
Many clinical trials for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are now testing low doses for shorter periods in coronavirus patients.
Source: New York Times