Trump Says ‘What Do You Have To Lose’ In Taking Hydroxychloroquine — Here Are Some Of The Side Effects Of The Drug
President Donald Trump has frequently touted hydroxychloroquine as a “game-changing” drug that could help patients who are struggling against the effects of coronavirus during this pandemic — but he’s done so, unfortunately, without any scientific reasoning.
On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, explained that all of the president’s praising of the drug may be overzealous. It’s not a “knockout” cure for COVID-19, he explained:
“We still need to do the definitive studies to determine whether any intervention, not just this one, is truly safe and effective,” Fauci said while speaking on Fox News.
“But when you don’t have that information, it’s understandable why people might want to take something anyway even with the slightest hint of being effective.”
The president seems to be pushing for people to believe that hydroxychloroquine is safe. On Saturday afternoon, during a press conference at the White House, Trump asked Americans to consider it — and suggested he might ask his own doctors if he should, too.
“I hope they use hydroxychloroquine…I hope they use it because, I tell you what, what do you have to lose?” Trump said.
TRUMP: "I hope they use the hydroxychloroquine … I hope they use it because I'll tell you what, what do you have to lose?" pic.twitter.com/hYeQETmoSE
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 4, 2020
Trump suggested that the drug was safe because of “rumors” he heard regarding lupus patients. The drug is sometimes used to help their symptoms, and the president said he had heard those doing so were not catching coronavirus as much as others.
That has yet to be proven by any study, however.
Trump went on. “If it were me, in fact, I might do it anyway. I may take it. Okay?” he said.
Trump doubles down on hydroxychloroquine, saying he may take it as a prophylactic.
TRUMP: I may take it. Okay?… I'll have to ask my doctors about that but I may take it.
Career scientists have warned that the science is unsettled + lupus patients currently need the drug. pic.twitter.com/ZBx6xHvvNG
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) April 4, 2020
“I’ll have to ask my doctors about that but I may take it,” the president added.
While many people take hydroxychloroquine for lupus as well as for malaria, the drug does not come without its own set of precautions. There are a number of side effects that can result from using it, including some serious ones — such as heart rhythm changes, as well as sometimes-fatal heart failure; blurred vision or other eyesight problems that can sometimes become permanent; and mental health changes, including a documented increase in thoughts of suicide.
In short, there’s a possibility that hydroxychloroquine may help with coronavirus, but it’s not yet proven through adequate research. Some people who have used it may have been helped by it, but it’s equally possible that their symptoms changed in spite of the use of the drug, not because of it.
And the president, who has no formal healthcare expertise, should not be pushing it as a possible cure, particularly because many may listen to him and act rashly, with harmful consequences, when he does.