Seriously ill Covid-19 patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die or develop dangerous heart arrhythmias, according to a large observational study published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet.
Just below 15,000 patients were treated with the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, or one of those drugs combined with an antibiotic.
All four of those treatments were linked with a higher risk of dying in the hospital.
About 1 in 6 patients treated with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone died in the hospital.
About 1 in 5 treated with chloroquine and an antibiotic died and almost 1 in 4 treated with hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic died.
The largest increase was among the group treated with hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic; 8% of those patients developed a heart arrhythmia, compared with 0.3% of patients in the control group.
“However, we now know from our study that the chance that these medications improve outcomes in COVID-19 is quite low.”. »