Essentia Health removes hydroxychloroquine from COVID-19 treatment options


The hydroxychloroquine drug was promoted by President Donald Trump as a drug that could have changed the fight against Coronavirus. Now, a local health facility, Essentia Health, has taken a step away from the drug, according to its Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Rich Vetter, Chief Medical Officer at Essentia Health in Fargo, says physicians within the Essentia Health system have taken the drug hydroxychloroquine off the floor. The removal of the drug comes on the heels of the announcement by the National Institute of Health regarding a clinical trial involving hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic medication, azithromycin. The trial will evaluate whether or not the drug combination can prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Investigators will also evaluate the safety and tolerability of the experimental treatment.

“There has been some news on hydroxychloroquine,” Vetter says. “The benefit is very limited.”

He says that physicians are finding that the cardiac risks are much higher when taking hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.

Previously, hydroxychloroquine was a FDA-approved medication used to treat and prevent malaria, along with the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.