Alert for unauthorized use of drugs to treat Covid-19

Since the pandemic began, the scientific community has expressed concern about what they consider the indiscriminate use of unauthorized drugs and without scientific evidence to treat and prevent Covid-19.

The Colombian Association of Pharmacology (ACF) issued a warning on the use of azithromycin and N-acetylcysteine to prevent the disease caused by Sars-CoV-2. Jorge Machado, president of the entity, affirms that since the epidemic reached the country, “the medical community has devoted itself to reviewing information on the drugs that were being promoted to treat Covid-19 in order to have illustrative data for the staff of health”.

The doctor indicates that effective evidence on desamethaxone had already been found, but in patients who were undergoing mechanical ventilation or intensive oxygen therapy. In addition, a recommendation was found for patients with hypertension when it was speculated that antihypertensive drugs could increase the risk of contagion by Covid-19.

“Patients with hypertension should continue taking their medications, everything they say about antihypertensives can increase the risk of getting Covid-19 is false “, clarifies the specialist.

With regard to chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, azithromyzine and N-acetylcysteine, Machado says thatand there are those who promote these drugs to treat the disease, but without any real evidence of benefits, but on the contrary, adverse reactions or unwanted effects have been evidenced. In the case of the first three “there are possibilities that arrhythmias are generated that can be serious”. It also cautions that these drugs should only be administered under a medical prescription.

In the case of N-acetylcysteine, although it is a mucolytic drug, that is, it is taken by people when they have a cough or cold, it does not serve to prevent or protect the body from the consequences of Covid-19. On the contrary, what it does is generate a sense of false security in the community.

In addition, N-acetylcysteine ​​can generate, according to Machado, adverse effects such as vomiting and allergic reactions.

In September, the specialized magazine The Lancet, published a scientific article in which hydroxychloroquine with or without azithromycin was identified, outside of randomized controlled trials, as an early candidate for the treatment of Covid-19, but detailed that these “randomized trials have found no evidence of a benefit from hydroxychloroquine compared to placebo at any stage of disease for Covid-19, and several trials were stopped early due to difficulties with enrollment and emerging evidence that hydroxychloroquine was not effective.

The same publication clarified that few studies have evaluated azithromycin, a drug commonly used for bacterial respiratory infections. The letter informs that although “it could potentially treat or prevent coinfection with SARS-CoV-2” so far the tests have been performed in vitro.

Given this, the president of the ACF affirms that more results should be expected research and warns that not necessarily because the drug has given results in vitro will generate the same results in humans.

Finally, he calls on the community not to self-medicate and reiterates the message to notify the medical services in case they manifest any symptoms of Covid-19.


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