LONDON -- A multi-content study looking at nearly 100,000 coronavirus patients found those taking hydroxychloroquine had a higher risk of death or serious heart problems than those who were not on the medication.
The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, looked at medical records of patients who had been treated and not a controlled study. Overall, the study analyzed data from 671 medical centers worldwide between December 20, 2019 and April 14, 2020.
The study focused in on 15,000 of the 96,000 patients in the study who took hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine alone or in combination with an antibiotic within two days of diagnosis.
"In this large multinational real-world analysis, we did not observe any benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine (when used alone or in combination with a macrolide) on in-hospital outcomes, when initiated early after diagnosis of COVID-19," the authors wrote.
Those who took hydroxychloroquine alone saw risk of death increase by 34 percent and a 137 percent increase in risk of heart arrhythmias. When combined with an antibiotic, the risk of death increased 45 percent and risk of heart arrhythmias increased 411 percent.
Among those who were given chloroquine, the risk of death increased by 37 percent and when combined with an antibiotic, risk of death remained 37 percent, but risk of heart problems rose 301 percent.
President Trump has long pushed hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (an antibiotic) as a game changer for treating COVID-19. He said he is on hydroxychloroquine as recently as this week.
"These findings suggest that these drug regimens should not be used outside of clinical trials and urgent confirmation from randomised clinical trials is needed," the authors stated.