‘Serious side effects’: FDA revokes emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment

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The Food and Drug Administration on [June 15] said it had withdrawn an emergency approval for use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment.

Almost since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Trump and other world leaders have touted hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment based on scattered anecdotes, not reliable scientific studies. But the FDA said [June 15] that the drug, along with chloroquine, is “unlikely to be effective in treating Covid-19,” and highlighted “serious side effects.”

The FDA’s withdrawal of the emergency use order, which Politico first reported, appears to formally close the door on U.S. officials’ willingness to use the drug to prevent or treat Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Related article:  Reproductive medicine could become entangled in the 'embryos are people' debate

In recent weeks, an increasingly conclusive body of research showed the drug was not effective at treating Covid-19 or at preventing the respiratory disease from developing in individuals who’d been exposed to the virus.

Despite the lack of evidence supporting the drug’s use, Trump continued to tout it as a promising tool to treat and prevent Covid-19, even announcing last month that he had taken a regimen of hydroxychloroquine as a safeguard.

The FDA had previously expressed concerns about broad use of hydroxychloroquine, issuing a pointed warning in late April that cautioned against use of the drug outside the setting of a hospital or clinical trial.

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