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ACP Advises Against Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

Practice points based on lack of evidence supporting use as prophylaxis or treatment for COVID-19

FRIDAY, May 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- In a special article from the American College of Physicians (ACP), published online May 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, practice points are presented to guide the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine in the setting of COVID-19.

Amir Qaseem, M.D., Ph.D., from the ACP in Philadelphia, and colleagues synthesized results from the best available evidence to inform point-of-care decisions relating to use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for the prophylaxis or treatment of COVID-19.

The authors note that the efficacy of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin has not been established for preventing COVID-19 after infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or for treating COVID-19; furthermore, there are known harms for these medications when used to treat other diseases. In the general population, chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin are not recommended as prophylaxis against COVID-19 due to known harms and no evidence of benefits. For patients with COVID-19, chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin should not be used as a treatment. Using shared and informed decision making with patients and their families, hospitalized patients with COVID-19 may be treated with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin in the context of a clinical trial in light of known harms and uncertain benefits.

"These practice points give frontline physicians guidance to provide patients with the care based on the best available evidence," Jacqueline W. Fincher, M.D., president of the ACP, said in a statement.

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