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Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug that’s been around since the 1940s. Doctors first used it to treat malaria.

Today you’re more likely to take it if you have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. You may have heard it could treat COVID-19.

The benefits for treating certain conditions outweigh the risks. You should only take it if your doctor says it’s OK or if you’re in a clinical trial. That’s because it can cause serious side effects. Here’s what you need to know.

Does It Treat COVID-19?

The World Health Organization (WHO) doesn’t recommend hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19. This suggestion is based on six trials with people who didn’t have the virus. Experts found that hydroxychloroquine had little or no effect on stopping these individuals from infection, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19.

WHO also doesn’t suggest hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment. Researchers did 30 trials with over 10,000 cases of COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine didn’t lower the need for (or time using) ventilators or the risk of death.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emergency use of hydroxychloroquine for a short time. They pulled approval after a large study found no evidence that the drug could stop deaths or help people with COVID-19 get better faster.

What Conditions Does It Treat?

It’s most often used to treat autoimmune disorders. That’s when your body’s immune system attacks your cells and tissue by mistake. It can lead to inflammation that damages your joints, muscles, and sometimes your internal organs.


Information on this medication quoted from WebMD.com

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