In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a comprehensive study conducted by researchers from Université Claude Bernard University of Lyon 1 sheds light on the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and its association with increased mortality rates. The study aimed to estimate the global impact of HCQ-related deaths during the first wave of the pandemic.
The findings revealed a significant disparity in HCQ prescription rates across the analyzed countries, ranging from 16% to 84%. The researchers estimated a staggering 16,990 HCQ-related in-hospital deaths during the first wave of the pandemic in these countries. However, the study acknowledged the limitations of these estimates due to data availability and variations in HCQ exposure rates.
The study also highlighted the toxicity associated with HCQ, particularly its correlation with cardiac side effects. The RECOVERY trial revealed an 8.2% risk of major cardiac arrhythmia related to HCQ in COVID-19 patients. Other randomized trials reported adverse events, including hepatic and cardiac side effects, with a notable rate of fatal adverse events.
The main finding of the study emphasized the potential dangers of off-label drug use during a pandemic, estimating 16,990 HCQ-related deaths during the first wave. The study emphasized the role of public authorities, scientific communities, and health agencies in promoting evidence-based approaches to drug prescriptions. It also highlighted the challenges in disseminating accurate information during a rapidly evolving crisis and the need for coordinated and data-driven approaches in managing healthcare crises.
Despite the limitations of the study, such as imprecise estimates in certain countries and potential biases in HCQ exposure, it contributes significantly to our understanding of the complexities surrounding drug repurposing during global health crises. Lessons learned from the compassionate use of HCQ underscore the importance of evidence-based decision-making in safeguarding public health. The study serves as a call for a more robust and coordinated approach in addressing health crises, ensuring that the potential benefits of any treatment outweigh the risks.