Use malaria drugs only for virus emergencies: EU agency

Anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine should only be used to treat COVID-19 in clinical trials or in case of "national emergency", the European Medicine Agency warned Wednesday.

Around the world, countries are expanding access to the two compounds, which are used to treat malaria and are known to have anti-viral properties.

The medicines have shown early promise against the COVID-19 illness in early studies in France and China.

But the EMA cautioned that the drugs should not be used to treat COVID-19 cases unless absolutely necessary.

"It is very important that patients and healthcare professionals only use chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for their authorised uses or as part of clinical trials or -use programmes for the treatment of COVID-19," it said.

Both drugs have a number of potentially , especially when taken in high doses or administered in tandem with other medications.

"They must not be used without a prescription and without supervision by a doctor; prescriptions should not be given outside their authorised uses except in the setting of a clinical trial or nationally agreed protocols," the EMA said in a statement.

There are also fears of shortages particularly of chloroquine, the less risky of the two medicines that is also used to treat arthritis.

Several countries are conducting for the drugs as part of their campaigns to quell the COVID-19pandemic.


Explore further

Follow the latest news on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

© 2020 AFP

Citation: Use malaria drugs only for virus emergencies: EU agency (2020, April 1) retrieved 30 May 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-04-malaria-drugs-virus-emergencies-eu.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments