After almost a year of incredibly contentious debate about the place of the old medication, hydroxychloroquine, in the prevention of COVID-19, we finally have what I think is the first randomized controlled trial to give us a pretty good answer — it does NOT work!
Hydroxychloroquine has been proposed as a postexposure therapy to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but definitive evidence is lacking — until now. The study, from Spain, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week.
The researchers, in Catalonia, Spain, randomly assigned clusters of contacts to the hydroxychloroquine group (which received the drug at a dose of 800 mg once, followed by 400 mg daily for 6 days) or to the usual-care group (which received no specific therapy).
The primary outcome was PCR-confirmed, symptomatic COVID-19 within 14 days after exposure.
The secondary outcome was COVID-19 infection, defined by symptoms compatible with COVID-19 or a positive PCR test regardless of symptoms. Adverse events were assessed for up to 28 days.
The analysis included 2314 healthy contacts of the 672 patients proven to have COVID-19 in March and April 28, 2020. Half the contacts (1116) were randomly assigned to receive hydroxychloroquine and the other half (1198) received usual care.
Results were almost identical in the hydroxychloroquine and usual-care groups with respect to the incidence of PCR-confirmed, symptomatic COVID-19 among the contacts (5.7% and 6.2%, respectively).
In other words, whether people took hydroxychloroquine on not did NOT affect whether they contracted COVID-19 or not.
In addition, hydroxychloroquine was not associated with a lower incidence of COVID-19 transmission than usual care (18.7% and 17.8%, respectively).
In other words, whether people took hydroxychloroquine on not did NOT affect whether they transmitted COVID-19 to others or not.
The incidence of adverse events was higher in the hydroxychloroquine group than in the usual-care group (56.1% vs. 5.9%), but no treatment-related serious adverse events were reported.
The bottom line is that hydroxychloroquine has risks but absolutely no benefits when taken to prevent COVID-19.
What has been proven to best prevent COIVD-19? The COVID-19 vaccines.
This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.