COVID-19 Guidance About Chloroquine
As current efforts are underway to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent concern has been the reported issuance of prescriptions by physicians for and dispensing of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine by pharmacies for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Pharmacists should exercise caution dispensing these medications in a community setting.
Currently, there are no FDA-approved or clinically proven therapies for treatment of COVID-19. At present, the FDA has not approved use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for COVID19 prophylaxis.
If used, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine should be restricted to patients who are admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 infections. The role of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in an individual patient’s care should be discussed with an infectious diseases physician at the healthcare facility.
Medication side effects, drug interactions, contraindications, and laboratory monitoring requirements should also be considered when prescribing these medications for treatment of COVID-19. Meeting those monitoring needs for patients could be limited in a community setting at the moment.
Pharmacists and physicians must also consider that patients currently taking hydroxychloroquine for FDA approved indications could be affected by this prescribing. Supplies of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine should be monitored by pharmacists for medication availability.
Providers prescribing hydroxychloroquine to patients for other indications (i.e., lupus and rheumatoid arthritis) are encouraged to notate the indication on any new prescription issued. Please note, this is a constantly evolving situation. As additional data is available, current information could be subject to change.