The health minister on Friday released an advisory on the use of hydroxychloroquine as treatment for patients suffering from coronavirus disease.
The advisory is based on recommendation of the taskforce constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The advisory recommends not administering the drug to children below the age of 15. It also says that people with known case of retinopathy and known hypersensitivity to hydroxychloroquine or 4-aminoquinoline compounds should also not take the medicine.
Hydroxychloroquine is being widely touted as the medicine which can treat Covid-19, but ICMR has said that it not recommending its commercial use is unless it gets satisfactory test results.
“It is important to understand that this (hydroxychloroquine) medicine is not mandatory. Whether it will reduce the infection, will be known only after tests. The doctors are still testing it on symptomatic patients. ntil we get satisfactory results, we won’t recommend this to anyone,” senior ICMR scientist R Ganga Ketkar told news agency ANI on Thursday.
Hydroxychloroquine has emerged as the most sought-after medicine after preliminary trials in China suggested it boosted recovery and lowered the severity of the coronavirus disease.
According to ICMR, hydroxychloroquine is recommended only to those asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases.
The advisory released by the health ministry has also listed things to be considered before administering/taking hydroxychloroquine. The most important consideration is to take the drug only after it is recommended by a registered medical practitioner, and to check with a physician about any adverse event before starting the medication.
“If anyone becomes symptomatic while on prophylaxis, he/she should immediately contact the health facility, get tested as per national guidelines and follow the standard treatment protocol,” the health ministry guideline says.
The government has ensured that there is no shortage of hydroxychloroquine in the country at present as well as in the future, Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Aggarwal said on Wednesday.