Today CNN reports French doctors found that hydroxychloroquine showed no evidence of helping their covid-19 patients:
In the French study, doctors looked back at medical records for 181 patients with Covid-19 who had pneumonia and required supplemental oxygen. About half had taken hydroxychloroquine within 48 hours of being admitted to the hospital, and the other half had not.
The doctors followed the patients and found there was no statistically significant difference in the death rates of the two groups, or their chances of being admitted to the intensive care unit [Dr. Minali Nigam and Elizabeth Cohen, “French Study Finds Hydroxychloroquine Doesn’t Help Patients with Coronavirus,” CNN, 2020.04.15].
And that lack of difference in outcomes came with the hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) group coming into the hospital with fewer comorbidities—i.e., less other stuff wrong with them—than the patients who didn’t get HCQ.
Among the 84 patients receiving HCQ within the first 48 hours, 8 (9.5%) experienced ECG modifications requiring HCQ discontinuation at a median of 4 days (3-9) after it began, according to French national guidelines.
…Finally, HCQ blocks the KCNH2-encoded hERG/Kv11.1 potassium channel and can potentially prolong the QTc, with potential severe consequences such as sudden cardiac death and cardiac arrhythmia.26 Besides QTc prolongations, we observed 2 other significant cardiologic events in this study, and the French national drug agency has reported 3 deaths potentially related to HCQ since its promotion to the public as a potential treatment for COVID-19 [Matthieu Mahévas and 29 other scientists, “No Evidence of Clinical Efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine in Patients Hospitalised for COVID-19 Infection and Requiring Oxygen: Results of a Study Using Routinely Collected Data to Emulate a Target Trial,” medRxiv preprint, retrieved 2020.04.15].
Three people died in the HCQ group of 84 patients; four died in the slightly larger group of 97 non-HCQ patients. So even if HCQ had anything to do with one less person dying, it put eight more at risk of heart trouble, which, if you have covid-19, you probably don’t want.
This French study has not been peer-reviewed, so it could use some reading and outside confirmation. South Dakotans, line up for your Noem pills… but ask the doctor to keep a close eye on your heart!