Local lupus patient shares her Hydroxychloroquine story

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Exactly one week ago today, Governor Steve Sisolak signed a declaration prohibiting the prescription of Hydroxychloroquine during the COVID-19 outbreak.

At that time one of our viewers emailed us and said: "This is so outrageous on his part。。。。"

The state board of pharmacy alerted the governor the drug was in short supply here in Nevada after doctors were prescribing and hospitals were ordering the drug at an alarming rate.

The order does not apply to patients who have an established relationship to the drug。 But it is they who are having the most trouble finding the medication。

The drug, used to treat and prevent acute malaria, has some turning to the medication to treat and prevent COVID-19。 That’s even though there is no scientific evidence。

“I need people to be careful, this is not Tylenol or Advil, this is serious drug that has some serious consequences,” says Leah, a lupus patient living in Northern Nevada。

Leah was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus ten years ago. Hydroxychloroquine was prescribed to her in hopes of staving off the progression of her disease. In a wheelchair, less than one hundred pounds, and prone to blacking out, Leah tried the medication.

“You know back before the drug, I would literally crawl to brush my teeth, because I didn't have the strength in me,” says Leah. “And if I got up I would faint. So I was able to get dressed on my own, brush my teeth on my own, get back to work. It was life changing,” she says.

Research goes back to the 1940 on the benefits of Hydroxycholorquine and lupus.

Studies show those lupus patients on antimalarial drugs live longer than those who do not take the medication。

The drug has changed Leah's life she says.

Not being able to find the medication last week to fill her prescription gave her a real sense of fear.

“I was able to get a partial refill,” says Leah。 “It was just, it was devastating,” she says。 “Because everything flashes in front of your eyes。 If we didn’t have this drug, I could go back to where I was; years ago where I could not do anything,” she adds。

While the scientific evidence exists between the benefits of Hydroxychloroquine and lupus, there is no such evidence with the same drug and COVID-19。

A Chinese study conducted during that country's COVID-19 outbreak shows no difference in the disease between COVID patients who did and didn't receive the medication。

Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration says hospitals may treat COVID-19 patients in their facilities with the malaria drug, provided it is not part of a clinical trial, and a state's health and human services grants permission。

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020


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