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Henry Ford Health study suggests benefit to hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus (COVID-19)

Results come after FDA rescinded emergency use authorization of drug

DETROIT – A study from Henry Ford Health system is suggesting there’s a benefit to hydroxychloroquine in treating the coronavirus (COVID-19).

These results come after the Food and Drug Administration rescinded its emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine and the World Health Organization stopped evaluating it because an interim analysis didn’t find any benefit.

Henry Ford’s study was published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. It looked retrospectively at more than 2,500 patients treated in the Henry Ford Health System between March 10 and May 2, breaking them down into four groups: those who received only hydroxychloroquine, those who received only azithromycin, those who received both and those who received neither.

The study found 13% of people treated only with hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 26.4% who were not treated with hydroxychloroquine.

“What we think was important in our study, in our patients, is that patients were treated early,” Dr. Marcus J. Zervos said. “For hydroxychloroquine to have benefit, it has to be given before the patient suffers some of the severe immune reaction that can occur with COVID-19.”

Officials said 82% of the Henry Ford patients who received hydroxychloroquine received it within 24 hours of admission and 91% within 48 hours.

“When different studies have different results, it doesn’t mean that it’s entirely inconsistent,” Dr. Steven N. Kalkanis said. “Differences in patient population, the timing of when the drug is given, the dosing of the drug -- these all can provide differing results.”

At Henry Ford, hydroxychloroquine was dosed at 400 milligrams for two doses, followed by 200 milligrams twice a day for an additional four days -- a different dose than other studies.

Since the emergency use authorization has been rescinded by the FDA, researchers said hydroxychloroquine is not being used to treat patients in the Henry Ford Health System. They believe it should be studied further going forward.


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