From Iceland — Hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 Treatment Halted After Less Than 200 Uses

Hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 Treatment Halted After Less Than 200 Uses

Published May 27, 2020

Poppy Askham
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Landspítali recently halted use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Less than 200 Icelanders received the controversial drug, Vísir reports.

As reported, in early April Icelandic pharmaceutical company Alvogen gave Landspitali 50,000 doses of the drug which they shipped in from India. However, less than 200 Icelanders received the treatment under strict supervision.

The World Health Organisation has temporarily suspended hydroxychloroquine trials after a study published by The Lancet journal indicated that the drug actually increased patients’ risk of death. The study revealed that 18% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine died whereas the death rate for the control group was just 9%. There are particular concerns that the drug could cause severe complications such as an arrhythmia for patients with preexisting heart conditions.

Magnús Gottfreðsson, chief physician at Landspítali, told Vísir that the hospital had stopped using hydroxychloroquine some time ago and that less than 10% of cases were treated with the drug. It will not be used to treat COVID-19 again, unless new studies can prove it is a safe and effective treatment.

In related news, no new COVID-19 cases were detected and one patient recovered yesterday, meaning there are now two active infections in the country.

As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s  COVID-19 help page.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

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