Study On Chloroquine Is Halted After Participants Report Heart Problems, Start Dying

A small study on a drug related to the one President Donald Trump has been touting as a “game-changer” in the fight against coronavirus was halted due to heart arrhythmias and other issues in participants, including the deaths of 11 individuals who were involved in the study.


The study, according to reporting from the New York Times, took place in Brazil, and involved the drug chloroquine, a close cousin to the drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19 by the president and others, despite lacking scientific evidence demonstrating such.

Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are used to treat malaria patients.

There were 81 patients involved in the study, broken into two groups: one taking 450 mg of chloroquine, and the other taking 600 mg of the drug. Some participants in the group with the larger dosage began to complain about heart issues, with 11 later dying as a result of arrhythmias.

While there were no reported fatalities among those taking 450 mg of the drug, the small participant size of the lower-dosage group made it impossible to know if that level of dosage was harmful or not as well.

A similar study in France conducted recently (separate from the one Trump and others have touted) also found that participants given dosages of hydroxychloroquine were starting to report heart problems as well. Disruptions in a regular heartbeat is among the many side effects that the use of hydroxychloroquine can present.

Trump, offering no scientific backing while doing so, has repeatedly suggested the drug should be used to treat patients suffering the ill-effects of coronavirus. “I hope they use hydroxychloroquine…I hope they use it because, I tell you what, what do you have to lose?” he said earlier this month.

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