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Trump says he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine for weeks to prevent coronavirus

President Donald J. Trump listens to a reporter’s question at an update briefing on testing capacity Monday, May 11, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
May 18, 2020

President Donald Trump told reporters at a Monday afternoon press conference that he is taking the drug hydroxychloroquine – and has for several weeks.

“A lot of good things have come out about hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said. “You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers, before you catch it. … many, many are taking it. I happen to be taking it.”

“I’m taking it – hydroxychloroquine. Right now. A couple of weeks ago I started taking it,” Trump added.

“I think it’s good, I’ve heard a lot of good stories. If it’s not good, I’ll tell you right now I’m not going to get hurt by it,” Trump continued. “It’s been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things. I take it, frontline workers take it, a lot of doctors take it. I hope to not be able to take it soon because I hope they come up with some answer, but I think people should be allowed to.”

Trump said the decision to begin hydroxychloroquine treatment came as the result of a discussion with his White House doctor,  but he added that he had not been exposed to anyone with the virus.

Trump explained he received a letter recently from a doctor in New York who told Trump he has been prescribing hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc as a combined treatment for coronavirus. “Out of … more than 300 patients, I haven’t lost one,” Trump said the doctor told him, adding a plea to continue advocating for the treatment.

“I want the people of this nation to feel good. I don’t want them feeling sick,” Trump said when explaining his support of the medication. “There’s a very good chance that this has an impact, especially early on.”

Hydroxychloroquine is an immunosuppressive drug used primarily to treat malaria, and also for lupus and arthritis.

There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not the drug is a safe or effective treatment for coronavirus.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an advisory on April 30 warning against using hydroxychloroquine outside of a hospital or clinical trial due to reports of “serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine.”

The National Institute of Health announced last week that it was beginning clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in conjunction with azithromycin.

“We urgently need a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19. Repurposing existing drugs is an attractive option because these medications have undergone extensive testing, allowing them to move quickly into clinical trials and accelerating their potential approval for COVID-19 treatment,” said NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. “Although there is anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may benefit people with COVID-19, we need solid data from a large randomized, controlled clinical trial to determine whether this experimental treatment is safe and can improve clinical outcomes.”