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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 213

Hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 widespread use despite unproven benefit

Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission07-Jan-2022
Date of Acceptance19-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication28-Mar-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pranav Ish
Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, Room No. 638, 6th Floor, Superspeciality Block, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injr.injr_7_22

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How to cite this article:
Ish P. Hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 widespread use despite unproven benefit. Indian J Rheumatol 2022;17:213

How to cite this URL:
Ish P. Hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 widespread use despite unproven benefit. Indian J Rheumatol [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jun 26];17:213. Available from:

Dear Editor,

I read with interest the article by Afra et al.[1] which attempted to understand the knowledge and practice of using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in COVID-19. The study found that those doctors who were dealing with COVID-19 patients directly had significantly lower total knowledge score and those who had personally taken HCQ as a prophylactic drug favored its use in COVID-19 including mass prophylaxis. This finding is clearly indicative of the fact that the recommendation of HCQ for prophylaxis[2] and subsequently for mild COVID-19 disease had negligible evidence and was majorly based on opinion. Despite doctors dealing with COVID-19 questioning the same,[3] this blanket recommendation led to so mass use of the drug for both prophylaxis and treatment. An interesting question which the respondents could have been asked is after developing COVID-19 despite taking prophylaxis, how many prescribed HCQ to their patients. Eventual meta-analysis of various international studies concluded that HCQ has no proven benefit or action against COVID-19.[4] The Food and Drug Administration cancelled the emergency use authorization for HCQ for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients as early as June 2020.[5] However, no national or international guidelines were issued discouraging the use of HCQ in mild or nonhospitalized patients. Thus, it can be easily observed from the study that evidence-based medicine stands the test of time and developing guidelines without evidence can be disastrous and having huge implications.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Afra TP, Uvais NA, Bishnoi A, Sukesh E, Eliyas S, Bishurul Hafi NA, et al. Knowledge on hydroxychloroquine prescription and attitude toward its use in COVID-19 – A survey-based study among doctors. Indian J Rheumatol ahead of print. [doi: 10.4103/injr.injr_184_20].  Back to cited text no. 1
National Taskforce for COVID19. Advisory on the Use of HydroxyChloroquine as Prophylaxis for SARSCoV2 Infection; 2020. Available from: https: // ophylaxisforSARSCoV2 infection.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Dec 29].  Back to cited text no. 2
Rathi S, Ish P, Kalantri A, Kalantri S. Hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis for COVID-19 contacts in India. Lancet Infect Dis 2020;20:1118-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Fatima U, Rizvi SS, Fatima S, Hassan MI. Impact of hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine in COVID-19 Therapy: Two sides of the coin. J Interferon Cytokine Res 2020;40:469-71.  Back to cited text no. 4
Smit M, Marinosci A, Agoritsas T, Calmy A. Prophylaxis for COVID-19: A systematic review. Clin Microbiol Infect 2021;27:532-7.  Back to cited text no. 5


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