French Trial Finds Hydroxychloroquine Not Helpful for COVID-19 Patients

May 18, 2020

A new study in France has found that hydroxychloroquine provides no benefit for COVID-19 patients, adding to the growing evidence that the anti-malaria drug has little value as a coronavirus treatment.

The French researchers looked at 181 COVID patients with pneumonia, given either standard of care alone or hydroxychloroquine in addition to standard of care.

They found that taking hydroxychloroquine at 600mg per day did not reduce admissions to intensive care or deaths after 21 days from hospital admission. It also did not increase survival in those without acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Led by researchers at the University of Paris-Est, the trial in four medical centers found serious cardiac events in the hydroxychloroquine group, including increased heart rhythm and atrioventricular block, according to a report about the study in the BMJ.

A separate study in China last month found that the antimalaria drug did appear to reduce inflammation, but more adverse events were observed in the hydroxychloroquine group vs. the standard-of-care cohort (DID, April 16).

More studies are underway to assess hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment. Last week, the National Institutes of Health began a study in approximately 2,000 participants of hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin for COVID-19. Results are expected later this year (DID, May 15).

Access the study details here: bit.ly/364syjK. — Jordan Williams