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DOH says hydroxychloroquine not recommended vs. COVID-19

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday stressed that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was not recommended for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

"According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine had safety issues like serious heart rhythm problems, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure," the DOH said in a written response to media queries.

Hydroxychloroquine is not recommended for patients with probable or confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia; outpatients with early or mild COVID- 19; nor for prophylaxis or prevention of the disease, the DOH said.

The DOH reiterated its position against using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVIF-19 made after a group led by former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez-Tan urged the use of the said medicine for COVID-19 prevention.

The drug was originally part of the World Health Organization's (WHO) clinical trial of which the Philippines is a participant.

The DOH withdrew the use of hydroxychloroquine, as well as the combination of HIV drugs lopinavir-ritonavir for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in July after the WHO said that these drugs produced little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. -NB, GMA News