March 24, 2020: An Arizona man died and his wife is in critical condition after taking chloroquine phosphate to treat themselves for the new coronavirus, the Banner Health hospital system says.
Chloroquine is approved in the United States to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, but President Donald Trump has promoted it as a possible treatment for COVID-19, CNN reported.
Chloroquine is also “an additive commonly used in aquariums to clean fish tanks,” Banner Health said in a statement. He did not provide any details on how the Phoenix couple, both in their 60s, acquired chloroquine.
The statement said that “within thirty minutes of ingestion, the couple experienced immediate effects that required admission to a nearby Banner Health hospital.” CNN reported.
Chloroquine and other “inappropriate medications and household products” – “should not be taken to treat or prevent this virus,” Banner Health warned.
“Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, medical director of the Poisons and Poisons Information Center in the statement. Banner. CNN reported. “But self-medicating is not the way to do it.”
Trump has touted closely related chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as possible treatments for COVID-19.
He promoted the notion at a press conference on Friday and again in a tweet on Saturday.
“HYDROXYCHLOROKIN AND AZYTHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real shot at being one of the greatest game-changers in the history of medicine,” Trump tweeted Saturday.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, quickly qualified those claims. Speaking at the same briefing on Friday, Fauci said there was only “anecdotal evidence” that chloroquine could work against the new coronavirus, and that much more study was needed.