FDA Yanks Emergency Authorization For Hydroxychloroquine

A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. - US President Donald Trump announced May 18 he has been taking hydroxychloroquine for almost two wee... A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. - US President Donald Trump announced May 18 he has been taking hydroxychloroquine for almost two weeks as a preventative measure against COVID-19. (Photo by GEORGE FREY / AFP) (Photo by GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is revoking its emergency authorization for malaria drugs promoted by President Donald Trump for treating COVID-19 amid growing evidence they don’t work and could cause deadly side effects.

The agency said Monday that the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are unlikely to be effective in treating the coronavirus. Citing reports of heart complications, the FDA said the drugs pose a greater risk to patients than any potential benefits.

The decades-old drugs, also prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage.

The move means that shipments of the drugs obtained by the federal government will no longer be distributed to state and local health authorities. The drugs are still available for alternate uses, so U.S. doctors could still prescribe them for COVID-19 — a practice known as off-label prescribing.

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