There is a lot of controversy that swirls around the drug Hydroxychloroquine – even though one side seems to believe that there is no controversy.
In researching this issue – which I have done more than I care – I have still not come to a conclusion. Since the debate seems to be engaged on political terms — Trump for and Democrats against – we can be sure that the scientific information will be lost in the fog of political pandering. The controversy seems to revolve around those who will vote for Trump and those who viscerally hate him.
That is because the science is being ignored by the media in favor of the partisan election-year positions. So, what do you discover if you just look at the science? You discover that the issue of the effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine in mitigating Covid-19 is UNSETTLED.
Now that may come as a surprise to those whose remotes cannot switch from CNN or MSNBC. So, what are the facts about the drug as far as science can tell?
First and foremost, it is NOT a cure. Any such claims are wrong.
On the other hand, it is NOT a dangerous drug. It has been used safely by tens of millions of people over many years. As with any drug, there can be side-effects – but they are relatively few and relatively less severe than many other drugs. It is touted by doctors and medical scientists to be among the safest drugs on the market when taken in proper doses. In fact, in some countries it is an over-the-counter drug.
The drug is used to mitigate Covid-19 in other nations, including Brazil and Russia – where the scientists claim it has produced positive results in reducing severity and death rates.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, himself, has declared Hydroxychloroquine to be safe drug – and at one time said that it showed promise in mitigating the effects of Covid-19. The FDA had initially authorized its use in conjunction with Covid-19. They did not say it worked, but only that there was no harm in prescribing it. Based on a later study, the FDA withdrew is authorization. That did not mean they banned the use, but only said they did not believe it was effective.
It can still be prescribed by doctors to Covid-19 patients – and is being prescribed by many. Most notably, it was prescribed for President Trump by the White House physician.
The opposition to Hydroxychloroquine is largely driven by one study that showed no positive impact on Covid-19 patients – and some heart-related side-effects. Proponents of Hydroxychloroquine point out that the study dealt only with older patients who had advanced cases of Covid-19. And that the drug was given in dangerously high amounts. There is general agreement that the drug is NOT effective for such patients.
However, the argument in favor of Hydroxychloroquine is for use at the early onset of the disease and in lower doses that were given in the other study. Many doctors across the nation have attested to the positive results they have seen in their own patients compared to the general statistics and death rates we see on television.
What is lacking in the research and the reporting is a scientific answer to the SPECIFIC claim that the drug has positive results at the early stages and with younger folks. Does it work in those cases? Why has no one produced a legitimate study to refute that claim?
The fact that so much of this issue is run through the political spin machine –and the lack of specific refutation of the claims associated with early use – leaves the question unresolved.
The anti-Hydroxychloroquine media was fast to jump on the one doctor — among several in a public announcement — promoting the drug because of her apparent beliefs in demons and “alien sperm.” They politically tie her to Trump who re-tweeted the announcement. When asked about her beliefs, Trump said that he did not know her, but she sounded impressive. That is hardly the endorsement the media made of it.
Regardless, it serves no purpose in considering the potential – or lack of potential – of Hydroxychloroquine to hype one odd-ball doctor out of the literally hundreds who say the drug appears to work with their patients.
The media tends to use Fauci as the primary opponent of the use of Hydroxychloroquine. In fact, he is not quite so definitive. He has shifted from seeing some potential in the drug to suggesting it does not seem to have any benefits. BUT he does not completely shut that door. He does not say that doctors should NOT prescribe the drug. To date, I have not seen Fauci asked about the difference between late and early use of the drug. If he has, it has not been widely reported.
So, after digging into this issue, what do I believe?
I cannot be sure, of course. But I do believe the drug is relatively harmless – and that its effectiveness in moderate doses at the early stages of Covid-19 is an unresolved issue. When the new media says the case is closed, I believe they are spinning for political reasons. Like anything and anyone associated in a positive way with Trump, they are against it. That is why I find it difficult to believe the media reports.
What I do believe is best reflected in what I will do. Since I consider Hydroxychloroquine to be safe and can POSSIBLY mitigate Covid-19 should I contract it, I will be asking my doctor – maybe even suggesting – that he give me a prescription. Then I will follow his advice. After all, I am down here in south Florida where the numbers are not good.
In the meantime, I just hope that the doctors and medical scientists will be able to get more definitive answers – and get them accurately through the media political spin machine.
So, there ‘tis.