During a meeting with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Wednesday, President Donald Trump told reporters that he would soon be done taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, CBS News reported. Trump said, “the regimen finishes in a day or two — yeah, I think it’s two days, two days.”
Trump revealed on Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine along with zinc as a preventative measure against COVID-19. The president said that he spoke to the White House doctor about taking the drug to protect against the novel coronavirus, and the White House doctor approved the decision.
Later, the White House doctor spoke out about Trump’s use of hydroxychloroquine, saying “the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” USA Today reported. The White House doctor referenced the fact that Trump’s valet had tested positive for the virus.
According to CBS News, Trump told reporters that he’d been taking a hydroxychloroquine pill daily for about a week-and-a-half. The president’s decision to take the controversial drug has been widely criticized by medical experts, who assert that the drug has not been proven to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus infection.
"It is for each national authority to weigh and assess the evidence for and against the use of this drug…"
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) May 20, 2020
Per USA Today, there isn’t any information yet about how hydroxychloroquine might work to prevent a novel coronavirus infection. So, it’s not clear why the president’s “regimen” of hydroxychloroquine would soon be over or why he would choose to stop taking the drug if he truly believes it will protect him against infection. Given Trump’s assertion that his “regimen” will end in two days and his revelation that he had been taking the drug for about a week and a half, USA Today posited that the president was on a 14-day regimen of the drug dating back to the day that Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when hydroxychloroquine is taken to prevent contracting malaria it should be taken for one to two weeks before going to a place where malaria infection is possible, and then taken for four weeks after possible exposure. So, the dosing schedule that President Trump appears to be on doesn’t reflect the way the drug would be taken to prevent malaria.
The FDA has warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus, according to USA Today. The few trials that have been done with hydroxychloroquine have not yielded positive results. One study even found that patients with COVID-19 who are given hydroxychloroquine are more likely to die.