An international survey of more than 6,000 doctors found that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is considered the best-rated treatment for the novel coronavirus.
The survey, conducted by Sermo, a global healthcare company, asked 6,227 doctors in 30 countries to find out what was most effective against SARS-CoV-2. The survey found that 37% of patients suffering from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 rated hydroxychloroquine as the “most effective therapy” from a list of 15 choices.
On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved chloroquine and its derivative, hydroxychloroquine, for an emergency, although many doctors were already using the drug.
Azithromycin, known under the brand names Zithromax or Z-Pak, was the second most effective therapy with 32%, followed by “nothing”
Hydroxychloroquine, marketed under the Plaquenil brand, has been prescribed in the most severe cases primarily in the United States. “Outside the United States, hydroxychloroquine was used equally for diagnosed patients with mild to severe symptoms, while it was most commonly used for diagnosed high-risk patients in the United States,” the survey said.
Sermo released a statement on the survey with other results, including:
- The three most commonly prescribed treatments among COVID-19 practitioners are 56% analgesics, 41% azithromycin and 33% hydroxychloroquine
- Hydroxychloroquine consumption among COVID-19 practitioners is 72% in Spain, 49% in Italy, 41% in Brazil, 39% in Mexico, 28% in France, 23% in the USA, 17% in Germany, 16% in Canada, 13% in the UK and 7% in Japan
- Hydroxychloroquine was selected from a list of 15 options (37% of COVID-19 practitioners) as the most effective therapy among COVID-19 practitioners.
- 75% in Spain, 53% in Italy, 44% in China, 43% in Brazil, 29% in France, 23% in the USA and 13% in Great Britain.
The two most common treatment regimens for hydroxychloroquine were:
- (38%) 400 mg twice a day on the first day; 400 mg daily for five days
- (26%) 400 mg twice a day on the first day; 200 mg twice a day for four days
Worldwide, 19% of doctors have prescribed or used hydroxychloroquine prophylactically in high-risk patients and 8% in low-risk patients, Sermo said.
President Donald Trump was a big supporter of anti-malarial drugs and was optimistic about the drugs, which he said could be “one of the biggest game changers” in medicine.
“HYDROXYCHLOROQUIN & AZITHROMYCIN together have a real chance to be one of the greatest game changers in medical history,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “The FDA has moved mountains – thanks!”
In his tweet, Trump referred to a French study that the drug combination can be effective against the coronavirus COVID-19, which has spread all over the world after it was created in China.
“Despite the small sample size, our survey shows that treatment with hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients is significantly associated with a decrease / disappearance of viral load and the effect is increased by azithromycin,” the study said.
“French-confirmed COVID-19 patients were included in a one-arm protocol from early March to March 16 to receive 600 mg of hydroxychloroquine daily, and their viral load in nasopharyngeal swabs was tested daily in a hospital,” the researchers wrote in a summary . Fox News reported. “Depending on their clinical presentation, azithromycin was added to the treatment.”