Drug combination of HCQ and azithromycin lethal for COVID-19 patients with cancer: Study
The study further showed that those who had the COVID-19 infection and had cancer actively progressing at the time of infection were five times more likely to die within 30 days than those who were in remission.by DNA Web Team
Cancer patients suffering from coronavirus who are being administered a drug combination of hydroxychloroquine with the antibiotic azithromycin to counter the infection are more likely to die within 30 days than those who infecteed patients who got either drug alone.
"Treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin were strongly associated with increased risk of death," Dr. Howard Burris, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) stated in a press conference.
"Taking the combination gives three times increased risk of dying within 30 days of any cause," Dr. Jeremy Warner of Vanderbilt University Medical System reported to the media.
According to the research done by Dr Warner and his colleagues, out of the 925 patients with cancer who became infected with the coronavirus between March and April, 13% of patients died within 30 days of the diagnosis of the virus being made.
In the study, 180 patients were taking hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin, and 90 were only taking hydroxychloroquine.
The study further showed that those who had the COVID-19 infection and had cancer actively progressing at the time of infection were five times more likely to die within 30 days than those who were in remission.
The preliminary findings is likely to be presented at this week's ASCO`s virtual scientific meeting.
In a notable development, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has now banned the trial of the hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine drugs on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-affected patients, citing a study by The Lancet journal which reports that the drugs might lead to an increased risk of death and the extent of their potential benefit or harm is yet to be completely understood.
The WHO, in an official press release, stated that the observational study by The Lancet noted the effects of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine on COVID-19 patients that have been hospitalised. During the study, "the authors reported that among patients receiving the drug, when used alone or with a macrolide, they estimated a higher mortality rate," the WHO release elaborated.
In view of this, the Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial has implemented a 'temporary pause' on the trial of the hydroxychloroquine arm, while agreeing to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally. The safety data will be reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already warned against the usage of the pill outside of a hospital setting, just seven days after it approved an emergency use authorisation for the drug.
Notably, India was also involved in this study, and the drug, which had been termed a 'game-changer' by India earlier, had been supplied to several foreign nations, including the US, Japan, Spain, Germany, and Brazil since it was in high demand globally.
Trump had told the media in a press conference that he has been taking the hydroxychloroquine for almost a week-and-half along with zinc. However, the drug was not explicitly recommended to him by them since he has not been tested positive for the virus.