Anti-malarial drug treatment can increase risk of cardiac arrest in Covid-19 patients – Researchers

Hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin which are anti malaria drugs and which is considered as a treatment for COVID-19, may increase the risk of  dangerous abnormal heart rhythms.

The researchers from the Indiana University and the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have said that the Covid-19 patients who are on anti-malaria drugs should monitor the patients for ventricular arrhythmia.

What side effects malarial drugs can have on Covid-19 patients

The researchers say that the anti-malarial drug leads to lower heart chambers beating irregularly and quickly and this condition may lead to cardiac arrest. Patients who are already critically ill with Covid-19 are more prone to experience these conditions. 

Eric Stecker who is one of the researchers and published a paper says:

“While there is yet very little data regarding hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin’s effectiveness as a treatment for COVID-19, some clinicians are considering combining them during this global pandemic.” 

Eric says that the physicians who are using the anti-malarial drug combinations for treating Covid-19 patients should be aware of dangerous arrhythmias.

“If physicians use their best medical judgment and order this drug combination for coronavirus patients, we want them to be aware of potential adverse side effects,” Eric said.

Stecker who is an associate professor at the OHSU School of Medicine says: 

“Until we have clinical outcome data supporting the benefit or harm of these medications, I would advocate for a cautious approach in using the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.

According to the researcher, the benefits and the side effects both have to be simultaneously analysed as well as the patient condition at the time of treatment is also an important factor in treating the Covid-19 with anti-malarial drugs..

“Any medications that increase the risk of cardiac risk require consideration of both risks and benefits, and right now we do not have evidence that benefits outweigh risks for use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine,” he said.

More news on Covid-19 treatment here