FDA pulls emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19

FDA pulls emergency use authorization for using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19
Posted at 9:59 AM, Jun 15, 2020

The FDA has ended an emergency use authorization (EUA) order for hydroxychloroquine, saying that the agency has determined that drug is "unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19."

In the announcement, the agency said that the benefits of hydroxychloroquine and a related drug, chloroquine phosphate, "no longer outweigh the known and potential risks for the authorized use."

The FDA issued the EUA for the drug in March. In April, the FDA warned that the drug should only be used in hospital settings due to the severe side effects some experienced while taking the drug.

Shortly after the coronavirus arrived in the United States, President Donald Trump touted the drug as a potential treatment for the disease. He encouraged those sickened with the virus to take the drugs, saying, "what do you have to lose?"

Trump said he took the drug for a few weeks in May as several White House staffers contracted the virus. In an open letter, White House physician Sean Conley said he prescribed the drugs after determining that the "potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks."

Earlier this month, a study showed that the drug was likely not effective in treating COVID-19. That study was published just days after a separate study — which determined that people who took the drugs died at a higher rate than those who did not take the drugs — was retracted by three of its authors.