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Trump says he takes daily doses of hydroxychloroquine despite FDA warning

US President Donald Trump on Monday, May 18 disclosed he takes daily doses of hydroxychloroquine pills as a COVID-19 preventive drug despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration.

While addressing a COVID-19 pandemic meeting with restaurant executives and industry leaders at the White House in Washington, Trump stated that he has been taking the drug for a week and a half.

READ ALSO: Kenyan govt says COVID-19 patient responding to chloroquine treatment

“I’m taking hydroxychloroquine. I’ve been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day,” he stated. “You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it. The frontline workers many are taking it.”

FDA warned last month that the antimalarial drug should not be taken outside of hospitals or clinical trials because it could lead to heart problems.

In its drug safety communication, FDA said hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have been linked to abnormal heart rhythms, dangerously rapid heart rates, ventricular fibrillation, and in some extreme cases death.

It further advised that the medications should be used only in settings where patients can be closely watched for cardiac problems.

Trump’s announcements drew criticism from a section of medical experts who warned that not just of the dangers it posed for the president’s health but also of the example it set.

“My concern would be that the public not hear comments about the use of hydroxychloroquine and believe that taking this drug to prevent Covid-19 infection is without hazards. In fact, there are serious hazards,” one Dr Steven E. Nissen said.

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Trump, who gets tested for COVID-19 daily also said he took a single dose of azithromycin, an antibiotic meant to prevent infection.

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