Vincentians have been cautioned by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment that the use of the anti-malarial drugs   Hydroxy-chloroquine and Chloro-quine to treat or prevent COVID-19 has not yet been approved.

A release from the Ministry said these drugs have been widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus (along with its related complaints of hair loss and joint pain). It said although both medications have been proposed by some researchers as being possible treatments against COVID-19, this has not yet been confirmed by health and regulatory authorities.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is strongly urges the rational use of drugs while it awaits confirmation by the United States Food and Drug Administration regarding the safety and efficacy of both Hydroxy-chloroquine and Chloro-quine in the fight against COVID-19, should we need to use them for this purpose.

The Ministry further advises that the side effect profiles, drug interactions, pregnancy safety information and dosage information should be reviewed prior to using prescription drugs. Additionally, individuals should have a medically appropriate reason to be in possession of prescription drugs.

The Ministry said it takes responsibility, as far as possible, to ensure that recommended treatments are available or accessible at minimal costs for patients with severe and life-threatening illnesses.