Safety of hydroxychloroquine in healthcare workers for COVID-19 prophylaxis
Retrospective 1303 health care workers finding that HCQ prophylaxis was well tolerated. 20% reported an adverse event, mostly gastrointestinal. 1.5% received treatment for adverse effects, with none requiring hospitalization.
Faruqui et al., 26 Mar 2021, peer-reviewed, 24 authors.
Abstract: Indian J Med Res 153, January & February 2021, pp 219-226
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Safety of hydroxychloroquine in healthcare workers for COVID-19
Atiya R. Faruqui1, Denis Xavier1, Sandhya K. Kamat3, Sujith J. Chandy4, Bikash Medhi5, Raakhi K. Tripathi3,
Yashashri C. Shetty3, John Michael Raj2, Sandeep Kaushal6, S. Balakrishnan8, Shubham Atal8, Santanu K.
Tripathi9, Dinesh K. Badyal7, Harihar Dikshit11, Sukalyan Saha Roy11, Niyati Trivedi12, Suparna Chatterjee10,
Chetna Desai13, C.D. Tripathi14, Nirmala N. Rege3, Pooja Gupta15, R. Raveendran18, Rajni Kaul16 & Nilima A.
Departments of 1Pharmacology & 2Biostatistics, St. John’s Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, Departments
of 3Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College & King Edwards Medical
Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 4Department of Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology, Christian Medical
College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, 5Department of Pharmacology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education
& Research, Chandigarh, 6Department of Pharmacology, Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana,
Department of Pharmacology, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Punjab, 8Department of Pharmacology,
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, 9Department of Clinical & Experimental
Pharmacology, School of Tropical Medicine, 10Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Postgraduate Medical
Education & Research, Kolkata, West Bengal, 11Department of Pharmacology, Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical
Science, Patna, Bihar, 12Department of Pharmacology, Medical College Baroda, Vadodara, 13Department
of Pharmacology, B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Department of Pharmacology, 14Vardhman
Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, 15All India Institute of Medical Sciences, 16Division of Basic
Medical Sciences, 17National Chair Clinical Pharmacology, Indian Council for Medical Research, New Delhi &
Department of Pharmacology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Education & Research, Puducherry, India
Received May 30, 2020
Background & objectives: Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), reported to inhibit severe acute respiratory
syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replication in in vitro studies, has been recommended for
prophylaxis of COVID-19 in healthcare workers (HCWs). The objective of this study was to assess
short-term adverse events (AEs) of HCQ in HCWs.
Methods: This cross-sectional study among consenting HCWs taking prophylaxis and working in hospitals
with COVID-19 patients used online forms to collect details of HCWs, comorbidities, prophylactic drugs
used and AEs after the first dose of HCQ. Verification of dose and AEs was done by personal contact.
Multivariate logistic regression analysis was done to determine the effect of age, gender and dose of HCQ
Results: Of the 1303 HCWs included, 98.4 per cent (n=1282) took HCQ and 66 per cent (n=861) took
800 mg as first day’s dose. Among the 19.9 per cent (n=259) reporting AEs, 1.5 per cent (n=20) took
treatment for AE, none were hospitalized and three discontinued HCQ. Gastrointestinal AEs were the
most common (172, 13.2%), with less in older [odds ratio (OR) 0.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.35-
INDIAN J MED RES, JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2021
0.89], with more in females (OR 2.46, 95% CI 1.78-3.38) and in those taking a total dose of 800 mg on
day one compared to a lower dose. Hypoglycaemia (1.1%, n=14), cardiovascular..
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