University Medical Center in Las Vegas has begun prescribing hydroxychloroquine to nonhospitalized coronavirus patients with fever and mild pneumonia.
“Certainly, if you are working here or in New York, you want to be able to help the patients, and right now this is the best we have,” hospital emergency medical physician Thomas Zyniewicz told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a videotaped interview.
President Donald Trump has been talking up hydroxychloroquine, a drug long used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, after very small preliminary studies suggested it might help prevent coronavirus from entering cells and possibly help patients clear the virus sooner.
The drug has major potential side effects, and the Food and Drug Administration says people should not take it without a prescription.
Research studies are beginning to test if the drug truly helps COVID-19 patients, and the FDA has allowed the drugs into the national stockpile as an option for doctors to consider for patients who cannot get into one of the studies.