Chloroquine for COVID-19: “inappropriate and unspecified” prescriptions
The Ministère de la Santé, the Collège des médecins and the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec deplore the issuance of prescriptions for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine intended to treat or prevent COVID-19 in ambulatory patients.
In a press release issued late Monday afternoon, the College of Physicians stresses that in light of the state of the situation in Quebec and the scientific data currently available, “these prescriptions are deemed inappropriate and not indicated “
“Efforts are currently being made, on the one hand, to ensure the maintenance of therapy for patients using these drugs on a chronic basis and, on the other hand, to build up a reserve intended for hospitalized patients,” said the College.
The professional order therefore enjoins physicians to stop “immediately” the issuance of such prescriptions. “As for pharmacists, they should refuse them unless they receive confirmation that these substances have been prescribed for a chronic health problem,” he adds.
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are antimalarials also used to reduce inflammation in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
These drugs have reportedly yielded results in the recovery of some patients with COVID-19, but more studies are needed to determine their actual effectiveness and safety.
In Quebec, Dr. Michel De Marchi confirmed that he had started using hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.
On Monday, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, asked the public not to succumb to the temptation to use untested drugs to treat COVID-19.
She recalled that chloroquine is just one of many existing drugs that are currently being tested to treat COVID-19, and that it should not be used until these tests are completed.
The malaria drug could not only be ineffective against SARS-CoV-2, but it could also be dangerous because all drugs have side effects, she said.
Canada is also participating in a large international study launched by the World Health Organization to examine the use of chloroquine and other potential treatments for COVID-19. With The Canadian Press