Source: The Cross Timber Gazette

Local COVID-19 patients may or may not receive hydroxychloroquine as part of their treatment, depending on which doctor they go to.

Hydroxychloroquine is a malaria drug that has been studied as a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus. It has been politicized as President Donald Trump has promoted the drug and in May he said he took it as a preventative.

Some local doctors are finding success when prescribing hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Lowell Phipps of Highland Village said that he has treated a couple dozen patients with it and has seen fast and effective results.

“All of them noticed significant symptomatic reaction in the first 24 to 48 hours,” he said. “Symptoms were greatly reduced or went away entirely.”

Phipps said the treatment ought to be prescribed within the first seven days of symptoms, and shouldn’t be given to patients who have been at risk for heart issues or are on medicines that would put them at risk for heart arrhythmias.

“Individual patients need to be taken care of in an individual fashion,” Phipps said. “I wouldn’t treat everyone the same.”

Regarding the studies that didn’t find success with hydroxychloroquine, Phipps said he has read that in those studies, the patients are usually given the drug too late or in too high an amount.

“There’s a toxic level of hydroxychloroquine and if you get to that level or above, there are significant side effects,” Phipps said. “My total dose is only two grams, much less than the total dose most studies have used.”

Phipps added that he expects better therapies will be found or developed in the near future. But for now, “I think it’s a very good choice. I’ve had excellent results with my patients, and other physicians I’ve talked to do very well with it. For patients with significant shortness of breath, I also advise the use of oral inhaled steroids to help with those symptoms.”“It’s really about education, truly informed consent,” Castro said.


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