WHO Experts Strongly Advise Against Hydroxychloroquine to Prevent COVID-19

Dawn O'Shea

March 04, 2021

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The World Health Organization (WHO) Guideline Development Group (GDG) is strongly advising against the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19. The group says the drug should no longer be a research priority.

The recommendations are based on evidence from six randomised controlled trials involving over 6,000 participants with and without known exposure to a person with COVID-19 infection.

The "high certainty" evidence showed that hydroxychloroquine had no meaningful effect on death and admission to hospital, while moderate certainty evidence showed that hydroxychloroquine had no meaningful effect on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection, and it probably increases the risk of adverse effects.

Consequently, the GDG considers that this drug is no longer a research priority and that resources should be used to evaluate other, more promising drugs to prevent COVID-19.

The WHO says this guidance, published today (2 March 2021) in the British Medical Journal, is the first version of a living guideline for drugs to prevent COVID-19. New recommendations for other preventive drugs for COVID-19 will be added to this guideline as more evidence becomes available.

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Lamontagne F, Agoritsas T, Siemieniuk R, Rochwerg B, Bartoszko J, Askie L, et al. Rapid Recommendations: A living WHO guideline on drugs to prevent COVID-19. BMJ 2021;372:n526. https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n526

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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