Stefanski: Don’t Self-Medicate With Unproven Anti-Malaria Drug
During today's Coronavirus press briefing by Lafayette Parish leaders, Dr. Tina Stefanski shared some alarming insight about questions her office is getting about the drug Hydroxychloroquine. That is the anti-malaria drug that has been promoted by President Trump as a possible treatment for coronavirus. While there is anecdotal evidence that the medication paired with Azithromycin could aid in recovery, it is still being tested in patients across the country.
The bottom line is that the use of Hydroxychloroquine is not a proven cure. Its effectiveness is still being tested. But social media posts sharing this misinformation have millions of shares. In some cases, the posts even claim that the drug could be used to prevent infection.
Dr. Stefanski said, "That's really false information that's being shared... these are drugs used to treat malaria and lupus. These social media posts from physicians around the country...that these medications can be used to prevent this virus. It's not true, it's false. In fact, these medications just higher than it would normally be prescribed could be toxic. They can cause cardiac arrhythmias and could have really damaging effects on people's health... We've had people call our offices wanting to know if they should give these medications to their children to help prevent this virus. And that's frightening to me that this information is being shared and the concerned, scared public is looking for a way to prevent and keep ourselves and our families healthy.
Stefanski was clear that she had not seen any local physicians share this information online. She also advised against trying to order the drug online. Some experts have warned that a run on this medication could cause a shortage for those who rely on it.
Just this week, Attorney General Jeff Landry along with State Senator Fred Mills secured a massive donation of the drug my manufacturer Amneal to begin testing in patients with severe cases of COVID-19 in Louisiana.
Watch today's full press briefing below.
Go to 15:50 on the video to see Dr. Tina Stefanski's full remarks.