Trump Inspires Right-Wing Activists To Take Unproven Drug Hydroxychloroquine
President Donald Trump‘s steady support of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment has inspired Republican activists to take the untested drug themselves.
The Federal Drug Administration does not recommend the use of the antimalarial drug outside of a hospital setting or clinical trial. The drug can produce “abnormal heart rhythms,” especially in people with heart or kidney disease, the FDA warns.
While patients taking the drug have shown varying results, one study conducted by Veteran Affairs suggests that hydroxychloroquine may actually increase death rates.
And a Veterans Affairs study of hydroxychloroquine found that the drug has no effect on COVID-19 and may actually increase mortality rates for patients.
However, Trump announced last week that he began taking the drug as a preemptive way of lessening symptoms should he contract coronavirus. That announcement sparked renewed fervor amongst some Trump supporters that the drug could be a “miracle solution.”
Radio host and former Trump White House adviser Sebastian Gorka began taking the drug even before Trump did in an attempt to avoid contracting the disease.
“Is it the miracle solution?” Gorka said in a video, before having his doctor on his radio show to discuss dosages of the drug.
Gorka’s doctor claimed hydroxychloroquine has been criticized because it is available in cheap and generic forms, so pharmaceutical companies will not profit greatly from it.
“When the president mentions it, political proclivities could mean that people have a political agenda not to agree,” Gorka said on his show.
Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) said he and several family members are taking the drug to prevent catching the virus.
Clinical studies are not focusing on whether the drug reduces risk of contracting the disease — they are mainly looking at is as a treatment for those who already have coronavirus.
“I’m relieved President Trump is taking it,” Marshall said.
Right-wing activist Michael Coudrey posted on Twitter that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine with “no side effects.”
“My face is also very plush & vibrant, likely [because] the drug increases extracellular H202 production & helps immune system,” he wrote.
I have been taking #hydroxychloriquine for the past month, no side effects, actually feel great & I feel like I have increased energy & higher mental clarity.
My face is also very plush & vibrant, likely bc the drug increases extracellular H202 production & helps immune system pic.twitter.com/tD9EHSzdJ3
— Michael James Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) May 19, 2020
Other fringe supporters have turned to potentially dangerous ways of obtaining — and creating — the drug themselves.
Members of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory promoted a “home recipe” for hydroxychloroquine in mid-May. The recipe involves consuming a variety of steeped fruit rinds. Supporters of the recipe claimed it would allow people to avoid “big pharmas fillers,” but some of the fruits suggested in the recipe, such as grapefruit, could react poorly with other medications.