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Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.”— Karl Augustus Menninger
I have been listening to a variety of talk shows, TV and radio to hear the diverse thinking surrounding the coronavirus and its affect on our health care system and economy. Today, I heard one talk show host who specializes in predicting the economy is going to tank imminently. Therefore, we should buy gold, silver and a years worth of food with a 25 year shelf life.
Now, to be perfectly frank, I always keep about a 2-4 weeks supply of food on hand in case of a hurricane, etc. I got tired of canned food expiring quickly so I bought a 10 day supply of the long shelf life stuff just prior to the current crisis. I am hoping that we never have to use it since the freeze dried banana oatmeal doesn’t do it for me.
Today, I heard him say something that troubled me. He asked a doctor friend about the *serious* side effects of hydroxychloriquine. He also asked about one report that hydroxychloroquine is even more effective while taking azithromycin. He said he believed that some people were deliberately hiding the serious side effects of these drugs.
Here is my response.
A study using hydroxychloroquine alone.
Note: hydroxychloroquine appears to be less toxic that chloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, is effective in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro.
You can download the pdf of the study in the link but the conclusion was:
Despite its small sample size our survey shows that hydroxychloroquine treatment is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in COVID-19 patients and its effect is reinforced by azithromycin.
Generic, cheap and years of safety documentation. Kudos to Novartis for their willingness to ramp up production and donate this medication.
Why is this good? It’s generic and cheap.There are decades of case studies and documentation about the safety of this med.
Today one news report said some companies are ramping up supply an incredible amount of this drug within a few weeks. Novartis Commits to Donate up to 130 Million Doses of Hydroxychloroquine to Support the Global COVID-19 Pandemic Response
A study using hydroxychloriquine and azithromycin to treat coronavirus
Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an openlabel non-randomized clinical trial. Basically, the study shows promise. Most of you have probably been treated with the antibiotic, azithromycin, popularly known as a Z-Pak.
But what about side effects?
Are there (*gasp*) side effects to these drugs? Duh!
Of course there are potential side effects. There are side effects to every drug on the planet yet you take them. For example, see this list for acetaminophen (Tylenol.) People die from acetominophen overdoses. Yet, it is effective in treating pain and is still used because, in general, it is safe. Today, I heard about a hospitalized baby who was given Tylenol and it caused his skin to sloth off.( He is doing fine, by the way.) So, shouldn’t acetaminophen be banned because that happened to this baby? Of course not. However, we should always be aware of the possibility to untoward reactions.
There is a reason that hydroxychoroquineand other drugs can only be obtained by a prescription given by an MD, NP, or PA. People need to be examined by their health professional to make sure there are no untoward occurrences.
As you can see the list is rather long but more on that in a minute.
Another long list. Notice the combinations of other drugs with this one with potential side effects (some serious) is lengthy. Again, more on that momentarily.
Azithromycin used in combination with hydroxychloroquine
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
For example, there is the potential problem with the heart. Hydroxychloroquine/QT Prolonging Agents Interactions
Taking hydroxychloroquine with other agents that can affect your heart rhythm may increase your risk of irregular heartbeat, which may be life-threatening.
A word of encouragement: I have taken Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)for years and even took a Z-PAK or two during this time as well.
I have a BSN. I even worked, for a short time, at Glaxo, a pharmaceutical company, which means I know a thing or two about side effects. My husband is a cardiologist who knows quite a bit about QT prolongation. We have an excellent internist and I also have a great rheumatologist. Both are experts in the interactions of various drugs.
I have psoriatic arthritis. I started on Plaquenil at least 5 years ago (It may be longer.) I take Xeljanz XR as well. I am checked on a regular basis which often includes blood work. My eyes are checked by an ophthalmologist every 6 months. On a couple of occasions, I also took a Z-PAK for a serious infection. I did not have a noticeable cardiology side effect.
I am currently doing well and am quite grateful for my medications as well as the health professionals who monitor me.
My advice? It currently looks like we have some possible treatments on the horizon. Nothing is 100% guaranteed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one treatment is an old medication that has been used since 1955? Do some reading and decide whether you and your loved ones would take these medications if you were diagnosed with COVID-19. My guess is that many people would elect to do so.
For now, I am social distancing especially since my Xeljanz XR, as well as many drugs that treat arthritis, is immunosuppressive.
Novartis and distilleries responding to the needs
One thing I do know, I won’t stop taking hydroxychloroquine. And I want to commend Novartis and many other companies for doing the right thing during this time!! Distilleries are making hand sanitizer with their in-house alcohol and giving it out for free to combat coronavirus