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Az man dies after home dose of CV-19 experimental meds promoted by Trump

Wife remains in critical care after couple took chloroquine, a drug Trump touted as a 'game-changer'

An Arizona man died, and his wife remains in critical care, after the couple ingested a chemical in an attempt to protect themselves from COVID-19, Banner Health officials said.

"Trump kept saying it was, basically, pretty much a cure," the woman told a reporter Monday night.

Over the last few days, President Donald Trump has touted the drug as a "game-changer" despite admonitions from health experts that the drug's safety and efficiency are unknown. Officials with Banner Health asked people not to self-medicate, asking people to avoid a "vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health."

'Don't believe anything that the president says'

"We saw Trump on TV — every channel — and all of his buddies and that this was safe," the woman told an NBC reporter. The couple were afraid of catching coronavirus, and had self-isolated for 2-3 days.

The couple, both in their 60s, took chloroquine phosphate, a drug widely used for the treatment of malaria and and other inflammatory conditions. The chemical is also used as an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks.

The couple were taken to a hospital within 30 minutes of taking the drug, official said.

"Oh my God, don't take anything. Don't believe anything that the president says and his people, because they don't know what they're talking about ... and call your doctor," the woman said Monday, according to a recording posted by NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard.

Chloroquine has been used to treat and prevent malaria since 1944, but the drug is not without risks and it can severely affect the heart. In recent weeks, the CDC have begun reviewing the use of chloroquine for treatment for the novel coronavirus, but are still trying to understand the drugs' efficacy. While China's National Health Commission has recommended using the drug in a hospital to treat pneumonia in some patients affected by COVID-19, U.S. officials are telling people not to take the drug on their own. 

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"Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so," said Dr. Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director. "The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health." 

"We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Brooks.

The couple took the chemical as an attempted preventative measure she said. They ingested the form used as a cleaning solution.

"Please educate the people," said the woman. "It feels like, like my heart is broken and it'll never mend. It's just broke, dead. Like my husband. My husband is 68. We're healthy. No underlying — no diabetes or lung issues. Nothing."

The woman said they knew that the media had reported that the drug was not FDA-approved to treat coronavirus in the United States.

"But, you know, they kept saying that it was approved for other things," she said. "Trump kept saying it was, you now, basically, it was pretty much a cure."

"This is a heartache I'll never get over," she said.

Trump said drug was 'game-changer'

Over the last several days, Trump repeatedly mentioned chloroquine in favorable terms, saying that the drug showed "tremendous promise" to treat COVID-19.

Last Thursday, he specifically referenced the chloroquine phosphate form of the drug, announcing at a press conference that the substance had been cleared by the FDA to test as a coronavirus treatment.

Just four days ago, President Donald Trump touted chloroquine as a "game-changer," however Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has cautioned against using the drug as way to protect against the disease. 

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During a White House press conference on March 20, when asked if  chloroquine could be used as a prophylaxis against COVID-19, Fauci said that the answer was "no." 

Fauci said that the government was trying to "strike a balance between making something that has the potential of having an effect available to the American people," and making it available under the "auspices of a protocol that will give us information that will determine if it's truly safe and truly effective."

"The information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal," Fauci said. "It was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it." 

Trump then stepped forward, saying that he agreed with Fauci before adding, "We’ll see. We’re going to know soon."

"The nice part is, it's been around for a long time, so we know that if things don't go as planned, it's not going to kill anybody," Trump said last week.

He also claimed that the Food and Drug Administration was working to "make that drug available almost immediately." Moments after Trump made his claim, FDA Commissioner Steven Hahn argued for a clinical trial on the use of the drug as a treatment for COVID-19. 

Unabashed by the experts' statements, on Saturday, Trump told his Twitter followers that hydroxychloroquine—a less-toxic version of chloroquine—in combination with the widely-used and antibiotic azithromycin. The combo could be "one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine," the president wrote, urging that the combination be "put in use IMMEDIATELY."

A study in China indicated that chloroquine phosphate in medical form has been effective in treating COVID-19-associated pneumonia in that country.

The FDA has yet to approve the use of either antimalarial drug to treat COVID-19.

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2 comments on this story

2
17 comments
Mar 23, 2020, 9:23 pm
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Theresa, the president does not believe in science, knows nothing about it and is not a doctor. He is consistently contradicted by those around him who DO believe in science, know about it and ARE doctors, yet they have to be careful with their words or they will lose their jobs and our Expert in Chief will make pronouncements without a single educated person on stage. Blood is definitely on his hands with this one but after all, he is the guy who says he could kill someone on fifth avenue and get away with it….and he just did.

1
3 comments
Mar 23, 2020, 7:50 pm
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The President shared encouraging information regarding chloroquine with Americans. He did not advocate for anyone to self-medicate with aquarium cleaner, nor is he responsible for people who ignore all warnings and choose to do something foolish.
But Paul Ingram certainly gets an A+ for the anti-Trump spin.

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