Medication Monday: Chloroquine

Well, since Coronavirus is what is on everyone’s mind, I figured that instead of my regular discussion of mental health medication, I would use this week’s Medication Monday to talk about a medication that has been discussed in connection with the Coronavirus outbreak. And that medication is Chloroquine.

The reason it is being discussed is because President Trump mentioned it as a possible treatment. While it is true that scientists identified this medication as a potential drug to test against Coronavirus, experts have stressed there is currently no approved medication to cure Coronavirus. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I should talk about what exactly is Chloroquine.

Chloroquine belongs to a class of medications known as antimalarials. It is approved to treat the parasite that causes malaria. It is not an antiviral, but nevertheless, there are reasons for scientists to explore it as a treatment for Coronavirus. However, there are potential side effects. While most people don’t experience serious side effects, possible side effects include abdominal cramps, blurred vision, diarrhea, headache, nausea, and vomiting. More serious side effects are possible in rare situations as well. And it is possible to overdose on Chloroquine, and that can be a real danger in this time of increased Coronavirus related anxiety. 

Nigeria recently reported some examples of individuals overdosing on Chloroquine. Those individuals took it in response to the President’s unsupported insistence that is can help.

I understand the desire to feel in control during this strange time. I understand the desire to take any step that might protect you against this virus. Yet, it is important to check your actions against what the experts say, not what political leaders say. Political leaders aren’t experts, and regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, they may be inclined to say something that is unsupported by science.

As always, I stress that Medication Monday is not a substitute for medical advice. However, nothing in my research suggests that Chloroquine, or any other medication, cures Coronavirus, and I wanted to pass that along to all of you. If you have concerns about Coronavirus, questions about any medications, or really any medical questions at all, you should consult with a medical professional. Medication Monday is merely meant to help you be more informed before you consult with your medical professional.

And as always, thanks for reading, and be well.

Additional Source: WebMD – Chloroquine

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