Assam doctor died after taking hydroxychloroquine as prophylaxis

Assamese Doctor probably died of heart attack after taking anti-malarial drug as prophylaxis against novel corona virus (COVID-19). Anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, is used to prevent and treat acute attacks of malaria. It is also used to treat discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis in patients whose symptoms have not improved with other treatments.

Recently, Indian council of medical research (ICMR) recommended prophylaxis use of hydroxycholoquine for health workers. It said, National Taskforce for COVID-19 recommends the use of hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection for Asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.

Utpaljit Barman, 44, a senior anaesthetist at Pratiksha Hospital Guwahati who have taken unknown number of doses of hydroxychloroquine but It was not clear if the use of hydroxychloroquine is connected to the death.

ICMR clearly said that Hydroxychloroquine not recommended for prophylaxis in children under 15 years of age and it is contraindicated in persons with known case of retinopathy or hypersensitivity to hydroxychloroquine, 4-aminoquinoline compounds.

It is clear advise by ICMR that hydroxychloroquine has to be given only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner. They advised to consult with a physician for any adverse event or potential drug interaction before initiation of medication. The prophylactic use of hydroxychloroquine to be coupled with the pharmacovigilance for adverse drug reactions through self-reporting using the Pharmacovigilance Program of India (PvPI) helpline/app.
If anyone becomes symptomatic while on prophylaxis he/she should immediately contact the health facility, get tested as per national guidelines and follow the standard treatment protocol.

Ministry of health and many health professionals already confirmed that prevention is better than cure. And continuously the prime minister of India Mr. Narendra Modiji requesting general population to remain in lockdown which is the best way to fight against COVID-19.

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