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Friday, December 8, 2023

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Could Popular Lupus Drug Treat COVID-19?

While there currently is no known cure for COVID-19 there are drugs being studied that could be potential treatments for this virus. One of which is a common drug used to treat lupus called hydroxychloroquine. I want to reiterate that there is no cure for COVID-19 and taking this medication should not in any way be presumed to treat or prevent anyone from getting COVID-19.

President Trump Tweeted on March 21, 2020, “Hydroxychloroquine & Azithromycin, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine, and that the  FDA has moved mountains to get the studies underway fast, as posted in an article posted on nbcnews.com on March 23, 2020.” Again, I want to reiterate that this has not been proven as of yet and the goal of this article is to present the facts as we know them now, not speculation.

The drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is an anti-malarial drug used to treat malaria. However, during WWII it was discovered that hydroxychloroquine was effective in treating the symptoms of lupus according to hopkinslupus.org. Which is John Hopkins Lupus Center’s website. This Drug reduces muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and helps alleviate skin rashes associated with lupus. As well as, keeping lupus from attacking other organs.  According to rheumnow.com the use of hydroxychloroquine didn’t become a popular treatment for lupus until the 1980’s. This drug is still one of the main treatments today used in conjunction with other therapies to treat not only lupus, but also rheumatoid arthritis as well.

According to the CDC’s website there are studies underway to see if hydroxychloroquine can in fact aid in treatment of COVID-19. A study done in China showed that there was some benefit in using hydroxychloroquine versus a compared group. It is not just the US that is preforming studies, several countries are looking into this drug as well, in fact it is currently being recommended as treatment for those hospitalized with COVID-19 in some countries.

I don’t want to present false hope as this being a treatment or that those who take this drug that it is somehow going to prevent the virus. That is just simply not true, and more research is needed. That is not the aim of this article, it is simply to keep us informed.

I also want to mention that there is talk of a shortage among those who rely on hydroxychloroquine daily to function or keep your disease at bay. As of right now, for most the drug is on back order, my self-included. This was the bases of the NBC’s article to show how the mention of using hydroxychloroquine has potentially caused a shortage. It is too soon to panic about the shortage we just need to wait and see. There has been talk of ramping up production and possibly importing hydroxychloroquine in from India.

Wouldn’t it be cool though if a medication that those who suffer from autoimmune diseases use every day could be the cure for this virus that has caused a global pandemic. I know this medication has definitely been a game changer with my lupus. I am not a medical professional just a fellow warrior. I chose to look at the positive and not focus on a medication shortage, but that a medication I use could help others. Have a blessed day!

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