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Man dies, wife in critical care after ingesting chloroquine for COVID-19
Healthcare providers are warning their communities not to self-medicate in an attempt to prevent or treat coronavirus, after a man died after ingesting an inappropriate household product.
The man and his wife were admitted to a Banner Health hospital after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, which is typically used to clean fish tanks. The wife is in critical condition.
Chloroquine is an antimalarial drug that the Trump administration suggested may be able to treat coronavirus. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved it for that purpose.
"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, in a statement. "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."
Banner Health encouraged patients to reach out to their primary care physician if they are concerned that they may have COVID-19. Most patients only need to self isolate and treat symptoms. The Phoenix-based health system discouraged clinicians from prescribing chloroquine to non-hospitalized patients.
Providers have been purchasing significant amounts of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in anticipation that they will be used to treat COVID-19, drastically depleting available supply, according to a new report from Premier. From January 2019 through February 2020, hospitals ordered an average of 149 units a month. More than 2,300 units were ordered through March thus far.
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