Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) has advised doctors to use arthritis drug Hydroxychloroquine for patients who are diagnosed with coronavirus and are struggling between life and death.
“A French study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents has shown promising results for Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus, and when used with Azithromycin, it significantly reduced the viral load,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“According to the study, at day 6 of treatment 70 percent of the patients who received hydroxychloroquine had cleared the virus and 100 percent of the patients treated with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin combo were virologically cured,” he added.
Dr Nisar said in addition to the direct therapeutic role, combo drug can play a role in controlling the disease epidemic by limiting the duration of virus shedding which can last for several weeks in the absence of specific treatment.
“We can’t see people dying. We can’t deny an off-label drug to a patient when it is backed by solid scientific evidence,” Dr Nisar said. “Off-label means to use the drug for other reasons than what the FDA has approved the drug for,” he said adding “a doctor is legally free to prescribe a drug for any reason that he or she thinks is medically appropriate, and when there are no other options available,” he said. He added that ICMR has recommended Hydroxychloroquin as a preventive medication for healthcare workers and household contacts of confirmed cases. “The recommendation needs to be expanded, and clinicians should be authorized to use the drug for treatment. The restrictive use will take a heavy toll on patients and the community at large,” cautioned Dr Nisar.