Hydroxychloroquine, Me, and the Great Divide

I took hydroxychloroquine for two years.  A long time ago as a visiting cancer surgeon in Asia, in Thailand, Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.  From 1987 to 1990.  Malaria is rife there.  I took it for prophylaxis, 400 milligrams once a week for two years.  Never had any trouble.  It was inexpensive and effective.  I started it two weeks before and was supposed to continue it through my stay and four weeks after returning.  But I stopped it after two years.  I was worried about potential side effects of which there are many, as with all drugs right down to Tylenol and aspirin.  These, however, are rare.  At a certain point, I was prepared to take my chances with mosquitoes and plasmodium, and so I stopped.

Chloroquine, the precursor of HCQ, was invented by Bayer in 1934.  Hydroxychloroquine was developed during World War II as a safer, synthetic alternative and approved for medical use in the U.S. in 1955.  The World Health Organization considers it an essential medicine, among the safest and most effective medicines, a staple of any healthcare system.  In 2017, US doctors prescribed it 5 million times, the 128th most commonly prescribed drug in the country.  There have been hundreds of millions of prescriptions worldwide since its inception.  It is one of the cheapest and best drugs in the world and has saved millions of lives.  Doctors also prescribe it for Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis patients who may consume it for their lifetimes with few or no ill effects. Vitamin D3, Zinc and M... Jeffers, Nancy Best Price: null Buy New $6.98 (as of 03:40 EST - Details)

Then something happened to this wonder drug.  From savior of the multitudes, redeemer and benefactor of hundreds of millions, it transformed into something else: a purveyor of doom, despair, and unspeakable carnage.  It began when President Trump discussed it as a possible treatment for COVID-19 on March 19, 2020.  The gates of hell burst forth on May 18 when Trump casually announced that he was taking it, prescribed by his physician.  Attacks on Trump and this otherwise harmless little molecule poured in.  The heretofore respected, commonly used, and highly effective medicinal became a major threat to life, a nefarious and wicked chemical that could alter critical heart rhythms, resulting in sudden cataclysmic death for unsuspecting innocents.  Trump, more than irresponsible, was evil incarnate for daring to even mention it.  While at it, the salivating media trotted out the canard about Trump’s nonrecommendation for injecting Clorox and Lysol or drinking fish-tank cleaner to combat COVID.  It was Charlottesville all over again. Frunutta Zinc 5 mg + V... Buy New $14.99 ($0.17 / Count) (as of 05:10 EDT - Details)

Before a nation of non-cardiologists, the media agonized over, of all things, the prolongation of the now infamous “QT interval,” and the risk of sudden cardiac death.  The FDA and NIH piled on, piously demanding randomized, controlled, double-blind studies before physicians prescribed HCQ.  No one mentioned that the risk of cardiac arrest was far higher from watching the Superbowl. Nor did the media declare that HCQ and chloroquine have been used throughout the world for half a century, making them among the most widely prescribed drugs in history with not a single reported case of “arrhythmic death” according to the sainted WHO and the American College of Cardiology.  Or that physicians in the field, on the frontlines, so to speak, based on empirical evidence, have found benefit in treating patients with a variety of agents including HCQZincAzithromycin, Quercetin, Elderberry supplements, Vitamins D and C with few if any complications.  Or that while such regimens may not cure, they may help and carry little or no risk.

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