While the FDA recently cautioned against the use of the drug to treat coronavirus patients outside of hospitals, that warning came after more than 830,000 prescriptions for the drug were filled for the generic and name-brand version of the drug, Plaquenil, in March -- up from roughly 460,000 prescriptions written during the same time last year.
In a statement this week, the FDA Commissioner said "the decision to take any drug is ultimately a decision between a patient and their doctor."
A large observational study published Friday found that seriously ill Covid-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die or develop dangerous heart arrhythmias, and a study published earlier this month showed the medication did not help treat coronavirus and could cause cardiac arrest.
The ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine, meanwhile, has claimed in a whistleblower complaint that he was pressured to make hydroxychloroquine widely available and that he was removed from his position after raising concerns about it.
Just this week, Trump told reporters that he is taking the medication -- an announcement that comes at a time when the medical community was already worried about shortages of hydroxychloroquine for patients who use it to treat other serious conditions.
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