Health Ministry allows Hydroxychloroquine with Azithromycin for COVID-19

The Health Ministry has noted that no specific antiviral have been proven to be effective as per currently available data.

March 31, 2020 10:40 pm | Updated 10:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI

File photo of Nivaquine, tablets containing chloroquine, a commonly used malaria drug that has shown signs of effectiveness against coronavirus.

File photo of Nivaquine, tablets containing chloroquine, a commonly used malaria drug that has shown signs of effectiveness against coronavirus.

The Union Health Ministry has allowed the use of Hydroxychloroquine in combination with Azithromycin under close monitoring for patients with severe disease and requiring ICU management as per the revised Guidelines on Clinical Management of COVID–19.

Hydroxychloroquine was previously under testing and was allowed to be administered only to doctors and caregiver in direct contact with COVID-19 positive cases.

Also read: Caution on use of hydroxychloroquine

The Health Ministry has noted that no specific antiviral have been proven to be effective as per currently available data. However, based on the available information (uncontrolled clinical trials), the following drugs may be considered.

It has, however, cautioned that the medication is presently not recommended for children less than 12 years, pregnant and lactating women. “ The revised guidelines are based on currently available information and would be reviewed from time to time as new evidence emerges,” it added.

Health Ministry’s Revised National Clinical Management of COVID-19 is intended for clinicians taking care of hospitalised adult and paediatric patients of COVID–19. “This is not meant to replace clinical judgment or specialist consultation but rather to strengthen clinical management of these patients and provide to up-to-date guidance,” noted the document.

Also read: COVID-19: Doctors cautious over use of malaria drug as preventive

“This document aims to provide clinicians with updated interim guidance on timely, effective, and safe supportive management of patients with COVID -19, particularly those with severe acute respiratory illness and critically ill,” it adds.

“We are also offering support to treating physicians and AIIMS, New Delhi is running a 24x7 helpline to provide support to the treating physicians on clinical management. The helpline number is 9971876591. The identified nodal doctor of the State, appointed for clinical management of COVID – 19 should only contact AIIMS Call Centre,” said a senior Health Ministry official.

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