Sunday, July 5, 2020

COVID-19 drug hydroxychloroquine produces cardiac toxicity, large study shows

A new study says that the ongoing trial of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine with 96,000 members is becoming hazardous to patients, The Lancet reports. This is effect is the same when the drug is taken alone or combined with azithromycin and shows no proof of efficacy. It is seen that it leads to complications in the heart that can lead to death. While global researchers are awaiting results over the efficiency of the drug, this study can make tables turn.

The study involved a massive population of 96,023 patients, which is one of the largest trials on the drugs to date. The mean age of the population was 58.3 years, with women accounting for 46.3 percent of the total population. With all testing for positive for COVID-19, the patients were from 671 hospitals across six continents. Out of the total population of 1,868 received chloroquine, 3,016 received hydroxychloroquine, 3,783 revived a combination of chloroquine with macrolide, and 6,221 received a combination of hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide. The control population included the rest of 81,144 people who did not receive the drug. while Researchers wanted to evaluate its effectiveness, they saw it produced cardiac toxicity.

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This is not the first time they see such an effect. Previous studies show that Macrolides and 4-aminoquinolines can prolong the QT interval in the electrocardiogram. QT interval prolongation causes Torsade de Pointes, which leads to tachycardia that leads to death. Although this is a rare event drug, Torsade de Pointes can occur due to many reasons with underlying heart conditions.

The outcome of the study

Researchers observed that the primary outcome of the study was ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. This was significant in the treatment group than in the control population. It also shows that mortality is significantly high in the four treatment groups than in control. The death was even higher than people who had ventricular arrhythmias. Studies show that women have higher chances of QT prolongation than men. But the mortalities were similar with both men and women in the population.

Read Also: People infected with COVID-19 again aren’t infectious, new study says

This increased heart complication throws a series of questions over the effectiveness of the drug. With such complications being exhibited, the future use of the drug to tackle COVID-19 becomes questionable. Researchers also further theorize that chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin can block sodium channels that can lead to pro-arrhythmias. This can lead to heart failure along with COVID-19 complications, but we need further studies to prove this theory.

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