(KLTV/KTRE) - Hydroxychloroquine needs more evidence-based studies before it is considered an effective treatment for COVID-19, if the medical community ever considers it an option at all, according to an infectious disease specialist.
Dr. Ed Dominquez, the Medical Director, Organ Transplant Infectious Diseases at Methodist Health System in Dallas, recently spoke to East Texas Now about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, a drug commonly used to prevent or treat malaria.
“Most doctors [aren’t prescribing hydroxychloroquine] because it’s not recommended by the consensus guidelines anywhere in the world,” Dr. Ed said. “As there are in any other aspect of life, there are going to be doctors and nurses that are all across the spectrum.”
President Trump took the drug in May as a preventative measure against the virus and has prompted controversy by continuing to tout its efficacy despite the FDA ending its emergency use authorization.
The president also retweeted a viral video in July, featuring doctors who claim that hydroxychloroquine is a cure for the virus.
“What we do is -- when I say ‘we’, I mean the majority of people who practice what’s called evidence-based medicine,” Dr. Ed explained. “So yeah, you might hear about one doctor having success in his or her practice by doing a particular thing, or there might be a study that comes out.
“But, it’s got to be multiple studies, not just a single study. And when we look at all the studies on hydroxychloroquine... pretty much everybody at this point in time has backed off the enthusiasm for hydroxychloroquine.”
Early in the pandemic, Dr. Ed said he prescribed the drug to “about 15 to 20 patients” out of more than 400 the hospital had treated by early July.
Of those patients, Dr. Ed told at least 4 patients to discontinue taking hydroxychloroquine because it caused side effects that could lead to myocardial infarction.
“It is not a safe drug for these doses we were using for people with a heart history or people with a bypass history. It’s not as safe a drug as everybody makes it out to be,” Dr. Ed explained. “I don’t believe you’re going to see a lot of enthusiasm from physicians who practice evidence-based medicine.”