A family practitioner in Denver, Colorado, said he has used hydroxychloroquine combined with an antibiotic to treat several patients for coronavirus and that they “all did well.”
Dr. Constantine Tsamasfyros, who has been in practice for almost 50 years, told a local CBS affiliate that he “prescribed a combination of hydroxychloroquine (also known as Plaquenil) and an antibiotic called azithromycin to about a dozen patients over the last few weeks.”
“They all did well,” Tsamasfyros said in an interview. “They seemed to reverse their symptoms in a day or two.”
The doctor said he “absolutely” believes the medicine worked.
“If they’re drowning, you either pull them out of the water or at least throw them a rope to come out,” Tsamasfyros said, according to CBS4:
The medication has been used for years to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. But in March, a French researcher in Marseilles, Dr. Didier Raoult, claimed he had successfully treated COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.
Other researchers and doctors have expressed skepticism over the methodology of the French study noting a lack of controls and checks and balances. The drug can also have significant side effects and can cause fatal heart problems.
Tsamasfyros said he began prescribing it to patients with coronavirus symptoms three to four weeks ago, since there was nothing else available.
“On an outpatient basis there is really nothing to offer our patients,” Tsamasfyros said. ”Until we have something documented or better this is a fallback and we should not be depriving our patients.”
“You certainly don’t want to deprive a patient that might be drowning in an inflamed lung situation of any kind of help or assistance,” Tsamasfyros said, adding that despite the debate about the drugs he said “common sense” and science informed his decision.
Tsamasfyros told CBS4 that he told patients about the possible side effects.
The doctor said because he is on the front line treating coronavirus patients, if he is infected he will use the drugs himself.
When asked if he would continue to treat coronavirus patients with the drugs, Tsamasfyros said “absolutely.”
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