“Following the diagnosis of COVID-19 in two West Wing staffers this past May, as a preventative measure, the president took a two-week course of hydroxychloroquine with zinc and Vitamin D,” Sean Conley, the physician to the president, wrote in a memo. “This was done in consultation with the appropriate care team members and close monitoring of the electrocardiogram for changes in the QT interval.”
Conley added: “The president completed the regimen safely and without side effects.
Conley continued by saying that Trump “remains healthy” and that there has been “no interval change to the president’s medical history.”
Trump in May shocked many by announcing that he was taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, as a preventative against the coronavirus.
Hydroxychloroquine is a widely used antimalarial drug that the president has touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
But its effectiveness for treating coronavirus has been a subject of debate: A recent analysis of the use of the drug to treat COVID-19 patients in U.S. veterans’ hospitals found no benefit to using the drug and that there were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care.
The nationwide study, which was released last month, was not a rigorous experiment. And Trump has continued to defend the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the novel coronavirus and slammed the demoted government scientist who filed a whistleblower complaint claiming he was removed from his post for disagreeing with the Trump administration’s push to use the drug.
Two large observational studies, each involving around 1,400 patients in New York, however, also recently found no benefit from the drug. Two new studies published Thursday in the medical journal BMJ reached the same conclusion.
The antimalaria drug hydroxychloroquine can cause heart rhythm problems and other side effects. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said hydroxychloroquine should only be used to treat coronavirus in formal studies.
After Trump made his comments that he was taking hydroxychloroquine, many doctors urged Americans that their best sources for medical information are medical experts, not the president.
"You have to have a discussion with your doctor to decide if it is best for you," Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a Fox News medical contributor, warned. "It is not going to be good for everyone but it may be beneficial and potentially life-saving for others."