Conspiracy theorists are posting dangerous prescriptions for homemade hydroxychloroquine online after President Donald Trump revealed that, against doctors’ advice, he was taking the anti-malarial drug to prevent him from contracting coronavirus.
A promoter of the right-wing QAnon conspiracy theory – which is based on the groundless belief that Trump is conducting a secret campaign against enemies in the ‘deep state’ – recently shared a do-it-yourself method of making hydroxychloroquine using the rinds of citrus fruits.
The recipe was posted on a Twitter thread urging people to drink the concoction ‘if you ever feel a cold coming on or just feel like it.’ The thread has been retweeted almost 2000 times.
The poster said it could help people avoid “big pharmaceutical fillers” and “take away all your fears about the virus.”
Health experts have strongly condemned the use of self-prescribed drugs for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 because they can have serious unintended consequences.
In the case of the latest hydroxychloroquine recipe, certain fruits can react dangerously with other medications.
Conspiracy theorists post dangerous prescriptions for homemade hydroxychloroquine online after President Donald Trump revealed he – against doctors’ advice – was taking the anti-malarial drug to prevent him from contracting coronavirus (file photo)
A recipe recently posted in a Twitter thread suggests using citrus peels to replicate the effects of hydroxychloroquine. The thread was retweeted almost 2000 times (file photo)
The frenzy over hydroxychloroquine began in mid-March when Trump called it a game changer in the fight against COVID-19 at a news conference.
The President has repeatedly touted the drug as a treatment for the virus – despite warnings from health officials that it is not recommended by the FDA.
The agency is currently investigating the potential effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in combating COVID-19, but has warned that ingestion may cause “abnormal heart rhythms,” especially in people with heart or kidney disease.
A recent Veterans Affairs study of hydroxychloroquine found that the drug has no effect on COVID-19 and could increase patient mortality.
Across the board, health authorities have warned that the drug should never be taken unless directed by a doctor – although a number of people have reportedly ignored that advice.
Health experts have expressed concern that enthusiasm for hydroxychloroquine is directly driven by Trump’s public comments.
In March, an Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after drinking an aquarium cleaner because they thought it was hydroxychloroquine. The woman later said they took the chemicals after seeing Trump praise the antimalarial drug at a news conference.
In April, the President asked the astonishing question to potential users, “What have you got to lose?”
Enthusiasm escalated dramatically this week after Trump claimed on Monday that he had taken the medication “ a few weeks ” to prevent infection.
Trump revealed on Monday that he was taking “ a few weeks ” of hydroxychloroquine to prevent him from contracting coronavirus
On Tuesday, radio host and former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka announced that he had also taken hydroxychloroquine in the past month to prevent infection.
“Is it the miracle solution?” Gorka wondered on his radio show while showing off the label of his prescription bottle.
He also brought his doctor to the show to discuss dosages.
Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), a doctor and candidate for the state senate, also revealed that he and several family members were using the drug for the same purpose.
“I am relieved that President Trump is taking over,” Marshall said Tuesday.
Right-wing activist Michael Coudrey, who has retweeted Trump in the past, also praised the drug.
“I’ve been using #hydroxychloroquine for the past month, no side effects, feel really great and I feel like I have more energy and more mental clarity,” Coudrey tweeted Monday.
“My face is also very soft and vibrant, probably because the drug increases extracellular H202 production and helps the immune system.”
Lionel Lebron, a conservative media personality and QAnon conspiracy theorist who visited Trump at the White House in 2018, urged his followers to lie about taking hydrochloroquine just to anger the liberals.
“Tell everyone you use it,” Lebron tweeted Tuesday. “Even if you’re not. Say you take it through enema. A high colon with a hint of lime. ‘
Talk radio host and former Trump White House adviser Sebastian Gorka (right) announced that he had also taken hydroxychloroquine on his show Tuesday last month. He invited his prescribing physician Sam Pappas (left) to speak about the dosage
Rep. Roger Marshall (R – Kansas) said he and several family members have used hydroxychloroquine in the past month to prevent infection
Right-wing activist Michael Coudrey revealed that he used the drug in a tweet on Tuesday
Lionel Lebron, a conservative media personality and QAnon conspiracy theorist who visited Trump at the White House in 2018, urged his followers to lie about taking hydrochloroquine just to anger the liberals
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHLOROQUINE
WHAT IS IT?
Chloroquine is an older version of an anti-malarial drug called hydroxychloroquine.
It is also an immunosuppressant that can treat Lupus.
In this April 9 file photo, a chemist shows hydroxychloroquine tablets in New Delhi, India
It can have the power to keep the coronavirus from replicating in cells and holding the bodySARS-CoV-2 entry into cells in an in vitro experiment.
It blocked the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells in an in vitro experiment.
The malaria drug is also said to have antiviral activity.
It is inexpensive to manufacture and is sold under the brand name Aralen.
In a small French study, some COVID-19 patients showed improvements, but there was no way of knowing if the drug was the reason.
Results published in April from another study in France and one in China found no benefit in patients treated with the drug. Dozens of clinical studies are still being conducted worldwide.
Cardiac arrhythmias are a known side effect of chloroquine according to studies in patients with malaria and autoimmune diseases.
A quarter of the 81 patients who received 600 mg of chloroquine in a coronavirus study in Brazil developed arrhythmias and possibly had a greater risk of death.
In particular, patients who developed arrhythmias were treated at a higher dose than is used for most patients in the US.
Trump defended his use of hydroxychloroquine amid fierce criticism at a cabinet meeting on television on Tuesday.
He attempted to discredit the Veterans Affairs study, which showed a higher death rate among COVID-19 patients who received the drug.
“A false study has been done, giving it to very sick people, extremely sick people, people who were willing to die,” Trump said.
“It only has a bad reputation because I promote and so I am of course a very bad promoter. If someone else promotes it, they would say it’s the best thing ever. ‘
He continued, “It was given by, of course, no friends from the administration, and the study came out, people were willing to die.”
“Everyone was old, had bad heart problems, diabetes, and anything you can imagine.”
The President also denied that the Food and Drug Administration has any warning about hydroxychloroquine, what it did on April 30.
The FDA warned that the drug caused heart problems and said it should only be used to treat the coronavirus in patients who are already in the hospital.
“No, that’s not what I’ve been told,” Trump said when asked about the warning.
Trump said he felt no influence from taking a daily dose of hydroxychloroquine and said, “I feel the same. I haven’t changed, I don’t think too much. ‘
He was assigned two of the cabinet secretaries to defend his use of hydroxychloroquine: Alex Azar, secretary for health and human services, and Robert Wilkie, secretary for veterans.
Azar said any drug can be used for ‘off-label’ purposes or something it wasn’t originally intended for, but can have an effect on.
“The doctor, in consultation with the patient, may use it for what we call off-label purposes, indications that have not yet been proven and are not yet on the label,” he said.
Azar called Trump the “ right-to-try president ” – referring to a policy that gives patients with deadly diseases little time to take experimental drugs.
President Donald Trump said that veterans who died of the coronavirus while taking hydroxychloroquine were sick people who were “ ready to die. ”
Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Azar (left) stated that medicines may be used for ‘off-label’ purposes. Veteran Secretary Robert Wilkie (right) said the hydroxychloroquine study was not from the VA, but used data from veteran hospitals
Wilkie pointed out that the study cited was not from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“It was not a VA investigation,” he said. Researchers took VA numbers. And they have not clinically assessed them; they were not peer-reviewed. They didn’t even look at what the president just mentioned, the different comorbidities that the patients had that referred to in that study. ‘
He added, “We are committed to protecting the lives of our veterans, and this is one of the resources we have used.”
However, others in Trump’s circle were less supportive.
Former VA chief David Shulkin, who headed the Trump administration department from 2017 to 2018, criticized the president’s rhetoric about hydroxychloroquine in a tweet on Tuesday.
‘The risks of taking hydroxychloroquine are real, but no data has shown it to be effective for COViD19 [sic]. Therefore, it should now only be used in ongoing clinical studies, “Shulkin wrote.
“I’m concerned about the example being set and whether others are using the drug incorrectly.”
Former VA chief David Shulkin, who headed the Trump administration department from 2017 to 2018, on Tuesday criticized the president’s rhetoric about hydroxychloroquine in a tweet
Because hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug, most will find it difficult to get their hands on, as most doctors refuse to prescribe it to patients outside of hospitals, if at all, without FDA approval.
Fears are mounting that people will bypass entry barriers by creating one themselves, as QAnon’s promoters suggested last week.
Another unfounded method of replicating the still unproven effects of hydroxychloroquine by taking quinine made the rounds on social media last month.
That method was promoted in a video by Missouri chiropractor Eric Nepute, which was viewed more than 21 million times on Facebook before being removed by the site.
In the video, Nepute urged people with flu-like symptoms to drink tonic water because it contains quinine, a drug distantly related to hydroxychloroquine.
The groundless remedy spread like wildfire across the Internet and caught the attention of health experts who viewed Nepute’s advice as dangerously misleading.
Chiropractor Eric Nepute falsely claimed that tonic water is an effective treatment for coronavirus in a Facebook Live video (photo) watched by more than 21 million people last month
Nepute, who runs the Nepute Wellness Clinic in St. Louis, posted his video on April 6 with the caption, “Seriously. How long will we suffice with all BS … ??? ‘
“Quinine does the same thing as hydrochlorquine, okay,” he said in the live stream. ‘Quinine acts as a transport chain to release nutrients into the cells.
“So I’m telling everyone now, if you know someone who has flu-like symptoms – if they have symptoms of COVID-19, colds, flu, whatever – go get some quinine and / or some Schweppes tonic water.
“Let me tell you this again: quinine and / or Schweppes tonic water.
“I want everyone to share this now, I mean everyone. Everyone should share this because there are many bulls out there that everyone should be aware of at the moment. And I’m going to throw some common sense at you because most people don’t look at this. Go get some quinine and some zinc. ‘
A number of medical professionals have since advised the public not to follow Nepute’s advice, noting that he is a licensed chiropractor and not a physician.
Dr. Luis Ostrosky, a professor of infectious diseases at McGovern Medical School at the Health Science Center at the University of Texas at Houston, said there is no scientific basis for the treatments that Nepute recommends.
“I suspect he’s taking quinine as another malaria drug,” Ostrosky said Buzzfeed News.
“There is really nothing in the literature on quinine and COVID-19.”
Dr. Humberto Choi, a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, noted that the quinine concentration used in medical conditions is different from that of soda.