Donald Trump says he'll stop taking hydroxychloroquine in 'a day or two'

21 May 2020, 10:52

Donald Trump said he would stop taking the drug 'in a day or two'
Donald Trump said he would stop taking the drug 'in a day or two'. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Donald Trump has said he will stop taking his preventative course of drug hydroxychloroquine “in a day or two.”

Speaking last night at the Cabinet Room in the White House, President Trump said “I think it’s two days . Two days."

On Monday Mr Trump said that he was taking the anti-malarial drug as a preventative for coronavirus, although there were some doubts cast as to whether he was actually taking the drug.

He said he had been taking the drug daily for about a week and a half as a measure to avoid getting Covid-19.

He said the White House doctor "didn't recommend" the drug but offered it to him. 

Read more: What is hydroxychloroquine? - UK trials to begin

People have been warned not to try to get hold of the drug or take it. Doctors say it should only be administered under the direct supervision of a clinician.

Scientists say the drug has some "very serious" side-effects and there is no evidence that it prevents or treats Covid-19.

Mr Trump's decision to take hydroxychloroquine has been described as "a staggering, irresponsible act that could very well also amount to self-harm" and there are fears his actions risks running down supplies of the drug for people with other conditions who need it.

Professor Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "Hydroxychloroquine has a number of side-effects, some of which are very serious.

"The benefit-risk balance is generally favourable if you have one of the auto-immune diseases like lupus, because it is a) known to be effective and b) you have the disease.

"The benefit/risk balance for prevention of a disease like malaria is slightly less easy, but is still positive because there is very good evidence that it works.

"For prevention or treatment of Covid-19 the benefit/risk balance is unfavourable (which is why it has no licence for the treatment of Covid-19) because the risks are known and real, and there is no reasonable evidence that it works in either prevention or treatment.

"There is no doubt at all that its availability has been reduced because of demand from those who believe (wrongly) that it will prevent Covid-19.

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"The lack of availability has seen its price rise dramatically, and the cost may be borne by pharmacists or their patients."

Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor in the school of medicine at the University of Leeds, said: "The announcement from President Trump that he has been taking Hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against infection with SARS-CoV2 is a staggering, irresponsible act that could very well also amount to self-harm."

He added: "Hydroxychloroquine has valid clinical uses for the treatment of malaria, or more commonly nowadays for various autoimmune conditions.

"It is prescribed and monitored carefully as it can have severe side-effects, not least those affecting the heart and cardiovascular system, for which the President has a medical history.

"Thus, people that follow the President's example might not only endanger themselves, but could also deprive patients with chronic autoimmune conditions of their much-needed medication."