CORONAVIRUS PANIC

Don’t self-medicate, pharmacists warn

Use of drugs without expert advice can be harmful to one’s health, the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya says

In Summary

• Some medicines could weaken the immunity and increasing one’s risk of severe Covid-19 infection.

• Reports indicate an increase in the number of Kenyans going to local chemists to buy drugs in a bid to curb Covid-19.

A pharmacy
RISK: A pharmacy
Image: FILE

The public has been warned against self-medication amid claims that malaria drugs may cure Covid-19.

The use of such drugs without expert advice can be harmful to one’s health, the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya cautioned.

Some medicines could weaken the immunity and increasing one’s risk of severe Covid-19 infection.

“A healthcare professional weighs the benefits versus risk to you depending on your age, gender, pregnancy status and pre-existing conditions, selecting the most appropriate dosage regimen for you to maximise health and minimise harm,” Louis Machogu, president PSK, said.

Reports indicate an increase in the number of Kenyans going to local chemists to buy drugs in a bid to curb Covid-19.

Without professional aid, chloroquine or hydroxylchloroquine could cause yellow colouring of the skin and whites of the eyes due to damage on one’s liver.

Hydroxychloroquine, sold under the brand name Plaquenil — used to treat arthritis and other ailments — was determined to be effective in killing the deadly bug in laboratory experiments, Forbes reported, citing findings published March 9 in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.

“We predict that the drug has a good potential to combat the disease,” the study’s authors, most from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, wrote in a letter published in Cell Discovery on Wednesday.

A new study published on March 13 by US researchers said chloroquine appeared to be an effective treatment and appeared to align with  findings in France.

“Use of chloroquine (tablets) is showing favourable outcomes in humans infected with Coronavirus including faster time to recovery and shorter hospital stay," the report said.

 
 

French physicians have completed a largely successful clinical trial using the drug — approved for use in the US in 1955 — to treat confirmed Covid-19 patients, according to a study published on Wednesday last week.

A total of 36 patients — including 20 treated individuals and 16 infected controls — were enrolled in the study, led by Didier Raoult, an infectious disease expert from l’Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire in Marseille.

The treated group was given 600mg of Plaquenil each day.

The researchers found that 50 per cent of the treated group turned from positive to negative for the virus by the third day — and by day six that figure was up to 70 per cent.

Edited by Henry Makori