The Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) Controversy: The Truth is I Am Not a Doctor; Are You?
I have never heard of HCQ prior to the recent Donald Trump televised task force conferences. I hear it’s done great things for the treatment of malaria, and the World Health Organization has placed it on their list of “essential medicines,” considered among the safest and most effective needed in any health system.
In 2017, according to the WHO, HCQ was the 128th-most-prescribed medication in the United States, with more than five million prescriptions.
Clearly, people are taking the drug and it’s working for many. Aside from malaria, HCQ is commonly prescribed, sometimes with additional medications, to treat systemic lupus erythematosus, and various rheumatic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, which is a condition with which one of my two brothers is afflicted.
For a comprehensive list of possible contraindications and overdose issues, see this Wikipedia entry, which includes valuable references:
I posted the following article yesterday on this platform:
Call Your Separated Loved Ones Every Day As if it’s Their Last, Even if You Are Estranged
You may not get another chance.
Within this article, I mentioned how Covid-19 has been hitting close to home of late:
- I am separated from family, one of whom lives thankfully close to me while others are 3000 miles away. I worry about them all.
- A lifelong close friend of one of my brothers is presently in the hospital with double pneumonia as a result of Covid-19.
- I spoke to a lifelong friend of my own today; his father was just rushed to the hospital with a possible case of Covid-19.
- An old friend of mine, who dropped out of sight for a few weeks, let me know today she is recovering from Covid-19.
- Another old friend is also recovering from Covid-19.
- Still another just lost a family member to Covid-19.
- Yet another is dealing with being unable to see his niece and her young daughter, both of whom are in the midst of Covid-19.
And so on.
When I log onto my social media accounts, forget it. Online friends mourning their families …
A plea to those reading this present article: Like any caring human being, I want the best for everyone. I hope every day that HCQ will be approved for treatment of of Covid-19. So let’s be clear about that.
Where I have my issues, indeed my triggers, is when supporters of our current President blindly post, throughout social media, that Trump has found “the cure.”
No, he has not.
What is happening as a result, according to numerous doctors and other medical professionals being interviewed in the press, is phone lines are being jammed with those who insist on a prescription for HCQ, even as a preventive measure, because they saw what Trump said on television.
For those who are not going as far, arguments abound that “Donald Trump never said this” or “Donald Trump never said that.”
“He said it may work” is a common refrain.
Well, see here:
The reality is he said both. He discussed doctors hopefully moving on the product, and he also said, to prospective patrons, “What do you have to lose?”
Unfortunately, as is now readily apparent, far too many people have only processed part of that equation.
For the record, he said this first, which didn’t help:
On the one hand, I understand panic. On the other, this behavior is not only hurting those who need medical care now, who cannot get through to a medical professional, but it is also risking the lives of those who want to experiment.
Trump is a trigger for me; I readily admit it. Anyone who visits my Facebook page will see that. I did, though, attempt a balanced approach to his efforts recently, and I stand by it:
When It Comes to Coronavirus, the Left Does Not Want Trump to Fail
With crises like COVID-19, there’s no time for partisanship.
No one on my side of the fence (though I do not consider myself a “member” of any political party, I do know what side I am not on presently) wants Donald Trump to fail in his efforts. The very thought is ludicrous. If he fails, more people die.
But over and again, on phone calls and social media, people are discounting potential side effects with the same argument:
“Every medication has side effects listed. Don’t you read the labels?”
Great point and yes every medication does have those potential side effects listed. But here’s the issue: No one posting on Facebook, Twitter or otherwise who only seemed to hear “What do you have to lose?” gives a damn about any label.
They want the medication.
So, for those of you reading this, I will list the following from Drugs.com, last updated on September 13, 2019, so you won’t have to bother with any label:
Hydroxychloroquine Side Effects:
Applies to hydroxychloroquine: oral tablet
Along with its needed effects, hydroxychloroquine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking hydroxychloroquine:
Incidence not known
Blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
blurred vision or other vision changes
chest discomfort, pain, or tightness
cough or hoarseness
defective color vision
difficulty seeing at night
dizziness or fainting
fast, pounding, uneven heartbeat
feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior
feeling that others can hear your thoughts
feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
fever with or without chills
general feeling of tiredness or weakness
inability to move the eyes
increased blinking or spasms of the eyelid
joint or muscle pain
large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, and sex organs
loss of hearing
lower back or side pain
painful or difficult urination
red irritated eyes
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
severe mood or mental changes
sore throat sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
sticking out of the tongue
swelling of the feet or lower legs
swollen or painful glands
trouble with breathing, speaking, or swallowing
uncontrolled twisting movements of the neck, trunk, arms, or legs
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual facial expressions
unusual tiredness or weakness
yellow eyes or skin
Again, to be clear, those are only potential side effects. The drug is showing some promise in early trials.
I do understand the time factor as well. Hopefully a course of medication will prove imminently workable. Saying it needs to is not an incorrect sentiment.
Unfortunately, we’re not quite there.
I’ve suffered for a big part of my life with severe asthma, a chronic lung disease. Though I have not, thankfully, had any symptoms in several years, I was moved to write this piece for those who do as we are all considered “high risk” in the event of a Covid-19 diagnosis:
In summation, for those of us who are not doctors, it is not in our best interests to self-medicate.
Covid-19 is a NON-PARTISAN illness; it can strike anyone regardless of your political stripes. Seeing nonsense online that Donald Trump knows better than experts — that I admit I push back on and not always kindly — is harmful.
We all hope he’s right in bringing this medication to our attention. We’re all in this together.
But we need to listen to the experts first, those who have made careers of saving lives.
Those reading this have survived the peak eras of AIDS, and/or SARS, Ebola, and H1N1, and many of us will survive this.
Let’s all be smart and careful is all. Hope is immensely important, but it alone is not a cure.
Please, let’s be smart. All of us.
Thank you for reading.
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