• Anne Huang

What is Hydroxychloroquine? Can it treat Covid - 19?

This post is a bit of a pivot from the usual health & beauty posts. I was debating on whether to write about this or no, but decided to go for it. Firstly, to educate people on what the drug is and what it's used for. Secondly, I've been taking it for many many years to help control by SLE (lupus), so I feel like I have more knowledge on this than most.

I'm sure by now you've already heard about an common medication used to treat malaria and lupus (an autoimmune disease). Trump has played a major (unwelcome) role in hydroxycholorquine (or Planquinil, brand name) rising to stardom, stating it helps treat Covid - 19. To date, the studies have not actually been very successful, and the drug has not been approved for Covid - 19 use. However, due to the understandable desperation of many people, this drug has started being used even though it hasn't yet been officially approved.

What is it?

Hydroxychloroquine is considered a DMARD; disease modifying anti- rheumatic. It was first developed to treat malaria, but has since been found very useful in treating autoimmune diseases by easing pain and inflammation. It's used in treatments for lupus for example, and arthritis. It's unlcear how and why hydroxychoroquine helps with autoimmune disease but it's thought to interfere with cell communication.

How is it used?

It's most commonly taken in pill form. Doses are different depending on the reason it's being taken.

What are the side effects?

If someone is using this for a very short period of time then it's not going to give you log term side effects unless you have an allergic reaction. However, if you are using it long term it can cause low blood sugar, dizziness, seizures, tingling fingers and feet, serious eye and vision problems, hearing changes, suicidal thoughts, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, hair loss.

So, you see from just some of the side effects this is not a drug you want to take lightly. I've been hearing a lot of news stories on people (in the US) being prescribed this medication privately to take daily during the pandemic to help protect them from Covid - 19. The truth is it's not going to help you, you're going to get side effects, and you're taking essential supplies away from people who need it most to control their diseases.

Thanks for reading and I hope you've learned something from this!

Stay safe and wash your hands! xo


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