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Coronavirus: specialists warn of treatment side effects

Drugs currently being used to treat the new coronavirus could have serious side effects. Credit: Pixabay

The treatments currently being tested against the new coronavirus (Covid-19) could have severe side effects and should “under no circumstances” be used for self-medication, the French agency for medicine (ANSM) warned on Monday.

To this day, “no drug has been formally proven to be effective in the treatment or prevention of disease COVID-19.” Instead, hydroxychloroquine (an antimalarial) and lopinavir/ritonavir (medication used to treat HIV) are being used.

“We alert healthcare professionals and patients to the known risks associated with the use of these medications, including cardiac risk, which, without proper medical follow-up, may lead to hospitalization,” the ANSM said.

“A few cases of serious adverse reactions have been reported and are currently being analyzed. In this context, we call on everyone to take responsibility to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations resulting from misuse of these drugs and to enable caregivers to manage COVID-19 patients in the best possible conditions.”

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In order to be able to map the drugs’ undesirable effects, health professionals and patients are encouraged to report any adverse reactions to the medication currently being used. “In conjunction with the network of regional pharmacovigilance centres throughout France, we closely monitor the cases of adverse reactions that may be reported to us.” The ANSM has also made the link available in a thread on Twitter.

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe recently warned that an “extremely high wave” was “sweeping above France.” As of 30 March, France counted 39,642 according to the WHO, and over 2,500 patients have already lost their lives to the virus. 

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times