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COVID-19: EU Agency gives directives on the use of chloroquine for treatment

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The European Medicine Agency (EMA) on Wednesday, warned that anti-malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, should only be used to treat COVID-19 in clinical trials or in case of “national emergency”.

Countries around the world are expanding access to the two drugs, which are used to treat malaria, but also have anti-viral characteristics.

But the EMA cautioned that the drugs should not be used to treat COVID-19 cases, unless it is absolutely necessary.

“It is very important that patients and healthcare professionals only use chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for their authorised uses or as part of clinical trials or national emergency-use programmes for the treatment of COVID-19,” a statement read.

Both medicines have a number of potentially serious side effects, especially when taken in high doses or administered together with other medications.

“They must not be used without a prescription and without supervision by a doctor; prescriptions should not be given outside their authorised uses àaexcept in the setting of a clinical trial or nationally agreed protocols,” the EME statement added.

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