Despite the lack of scientific consensus on its efficacy, the government authorized treatment with hydroxychloroquine in patients with Covid-19 on March 26.
54 cases of heart disorder
Since then, 54 cases of cardiac disorders linked to taking hydroxychloroquine have been reported to the regional pharmacovigilance center (CRPV) in Nice, including 4 sudden or unexplained deaths (in total, 7 people were in clinical death but 3 patients could have been saved by electric shock).
But these 54 patients represent only the tip of the iceberg, “said Professor Milou-Daniel Drici, director of the CRPV in Nice.
The CRPV Nice Alpes Côte-d´Azur analyzes all the data transmitted by the 31 centers in France, concerning the cardiac effects of hydroxychloroquine on patients with coronavirus.
It is estimated that only 5% of adverse drug reactions are reported to pharmacovigilance centers, explains Professor Drici.
“Resuscitation services are overwhelmed right now, doctors have more urgent things to do than taking the time to report the adverse effects of the molecule,” said Prof. Milou-Daniel Drici.
The effectiveness of the drug remains to be proven
No serious study published in a scientific journal, proves to date the effectiveness of the drug, underlines professor Drici.
Whatever the hypotheses, I consider that the benefit-risk ratio of the molecule is negative, in the case of Covid-19. We are not sure of its effectiveness, but we are certain of its undesirable effects.
For him no doubt, it is necessary to limit the use of this drug:
The essential aspect of the Hippocratic oath is not to harm patients. The best way to avoid harming them is to not give a drug that has a negative risk-benefit.
Over 1,000 patients treated in Marseille
It is difficult today to know exactly how many Covid-19 positive patients have been treated with hydroxychloroquine. Probably several thousand, since Pr. Didier Raoult’s team alone has treated more than 1,000 patients in Marseille.
A leading figure in the fight for the use of the molecule, this professor of medicine, director of the Mediterranean Infection Institute, said that he would soon reveal the results of tests for treatment with hydroxychloroquine, combined with azithromycin, performed on more than a thousand people.
This Thursday, April 9, Emmanuel Macron met with Professor Didier Raoult, at the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) Méditerranée in Marseille, to discuss the results of his treatment.
An online petition in favor of the use of chloroquine, entitled “Covid-19 treatment: let’s not waste any more time!”, Already collected nearly 470,000 signatures this Friday, April 10.
It is launched by a group of doctors and professors, including Philippe Douste-Blazy, Professor of public health and epidemiology and former Minister of Health.
I ask you, with Professor Perronne and many others, to sign the petition which will allow all French doctors to be able to prescribe hydroxychloroquine if they wish to patients with symptomatic COVID-19. https://t.co/IOXtDMZFMb
– Philippe Douste-Blazy (@pdousteblazy) April 3, 2020
They asked the government “to make available immediately in all hospital pharmacies hydroxychloroquine or, failing that, chloroquine so that each hospital doctor can prescribe it to all patients suffering from symptomatic form of the Covid- 19, particularly those with pulmonary disorders if their condition requires it. “
Ongoing clinical trials
The director of the CRPV in Nice believes that hydroxychloroquine should be reserved for clinical trials. “If the answer is that this drug is effective against Covid-19, which is what I want deep inside, then we can use it.” But not before ”.
Clinical trials are underway, including Discovery, coordinated by Inserm (the National Institute of Health and Medical Research) on at least 800 French patients with severe forms of Covid-19.
“We should have the preliminary results of Discovery soon enough” suggests Prof. Milou-Daniel Drici.
“But the feedback I get from the Parisian resuscitation services is not very reassuring,” he adds.