Arizona Man Dead After Using Chloroquine Phosphate to Treat Coronavirus

A man in Phoenix in his 60s died after taking chloroquine in an apparent effort to treat COVID-19.

A man in his 60s in Arizona is now dead after self-medicating with chloroquine phosphate in an apparent attempt to cure himself from the novel coronavirus. A couple in Phoenix, seemingly concerned they'd come down with COVID-19, ingested the household chemical, which is commonly used to clean fish tanks, the hospital system Banner Health revealed in a press release. Within 30 minutes of consuming the chloroquine phosphate, they each experienced immediate effects and were admitted to a nearby Banner Health Hospital. While the man died, his wife, also in her 60s, is still in critical care.

Chloroquine has received a lot of attention, particularly after President Donald Trump touted its possible effectiveness in fighting the novel coronavirus. On Saturday, the president tweeted the following:

It's not clear that the Arizona couple took the chloroquine as a direct result of the president's messaging.

As CNN reports, chloroquine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. But the FDA has not approved it to treat COVID-19.

On Monday, the president again promoted this possible coronavirus treatment by retweeting the following:

In their press release, Banner Health experts emphasized that chloroquine phosphate—as well as other "inappropriate medications and household products"—"should not be ingested to treat or prevent this virus."

"Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus," Daniel Brooks, MD, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director, said in a statement. "But self-medicating is not the way to do so."

In short, do not consume any household chemicals. Only take medication that has been prescribed to you by a medical professional.

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