Scientists from the University of Grenoble-Alpes evaluated reported adverse events with chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in 2020 and compared them with data from 2018-2019. The information was obtained from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database. The surveyed database was dominated by reports from the USA, Canada, France, Spain and Italy.
In 2020, the number of reported side effects of these drugs was double the total in the previous two years. In 2020, the share of serious side effects of these drugs was 97.1%, while in 2018 and 2019 these figures were 73.4% and 84.8%, respectively.
The proportion of deaths due to the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in 2020 increased to 5.1%, compared with 3.1% and 1.9% in previous years.
“The dramatic increase in the number of reported side effects of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic raises concerns about the potential harm that taking these drugs can bring in the face of unproven efficacy,” the study authors write.
Hydroxychloroquine is one of the drugs with unproven efficacy in COVID-19 that the Ministry of Health recommends for the treatment of this infection. WHO stopped research on this drug in the summer due to its ineffectiveness.