TUESDAY, June 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In the treatment of COVID-19 patients, chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine sulfate should not be used with the experimental drug remdesivir because of a potentially unfavorable drug interaction, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
The drugs could reduce the antiviral effectiveness of remdesivir, the FDA warned Monday. The FDA in May gave emergency authorization for use of remdesivir to treat hospitalized, severely ill COVID-19 patients. Recent research suggested remdesivir on its own is not enough to curb the coronavirus, so scientists had been pinning their hopes on various drug combinations. But in a revised fact sheet for health care providers, the FDA said a recently completed nonclinical laboratory study suggests that remdesivir should not be used with the malaria drugs chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine.
“Over the course of this unprecedented pandemic, the FDA has issued emergency use authorizations for a variety of medical products after evaluating the available scientific evidence and carefully balancing any known or potential risks against the benefits of making these products available during the current public health emergency,” Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., acting director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release. “We understand that, as we learn more about these products, changes may be necessary based on new data, such as today’s updates for health care providers about a potential drug interaction and other important information about using remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients.”
The FDA said it is not aware of any cases of reduced remdesivir activity among patients who received the antiviral drug along with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, but it is continuing to evaluate all data associated with remdesivir.