Chloroquine is one of the medications that experts have used to study for the potential it has for the treatment of the pandemic disease called COVID 19. This has been included on the list as an essential medicine.
Coronavirus 2019 or COVID 19 is linked to the same family of viruses as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person. It may be between people who are in close contact with one another or through respiratory droplets. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. People may be sick with the virus for 1-14 days before developing symptoms. The most common symptoms of coronavirus disease are tiredness, fever, or dry cough. More rarely, the disease can be serious and even fatal. Older people and people with other medical conditions may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
Here are some steps on how to protect yourself from being infected:
⦁ Wash your hands often with water and soap for at least 20 seconds after you have been in a public place or after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
⦁ If soap and water are not available, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
⦁ Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands.
⦁ Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
The severity of COVID 19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Some people may experience no symptoms at all. Contact your doctor right away if you have developed any symptoms of this disease.
How does Chloroquine work?
Chloroquine works for the treatment of malaria and effective in preventing the development of the disease. However, this drug has already been studied that has the potential to treat the pandemic disease known as COVID-19. Chloroquine is believed to work by killing the single-celled parasite that causes malaria. It can also attach to a human cellular protein called the sigma-1 receptor which is the target of the virus.
This medication essentially slows down how efficient the virus is at entering cells. In which it can slow the rate of replication. It works by curtailing the ability of the virus to use certain compartments in a cell to get itself inside its target. It is like having another bolt on your front door. But, it does not keep the pathogen from kicking the door down. You may think of it as flattening the curve inside the body. Wherein, it gives the immune system time to catch up.
How to use Chloroquine?
Chloroquine is taken by mouth as directed by your doctor. The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow the prescription of your doctor carefully. The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. It also depends on the number of doses you take, the length of time you take the medicine or the time allowed between doses. If you missed a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, never mind the missed dose and get back to your regular dosing schedule.
Chloroquine works best when you take it on a regular schedule. Keep taking this medicine even if you feel well until you are done with your prescription. Do not suddenly stop taking Chloroquine. It may worsen or can develop any other complications. Take this at the same time and in the same way each day. You should not take more or less than given by your doctor. Call your doctor at once if your condition gets worse or does not improve.
What are the possible side effects of the medicine Chloroquine?
⦁ Blurred vision
⦁ Abdominal or stomach cramps
⦁ Temporary hair loss
⦁ Muscle weakness
⦁ Changes in hair color
Call your doctor right away if you these side effects:
⦁ Hearing changes
⦁ Mental/mood changes (depression, confusion, personality changes, and unusual thoughts or behavior)
⦁ Worsening of skin conditions
⦁ Darkening of skin or tissue inside the mouth
⦁ Unusual tiredness
⦁ Sun sensitivity
⦁ Signs of serious infection (severe chills, high fever, and persistent sore throat)
⦁ Shortness of breath
⦁ Swelling legs or ankles
⦁ Easy bruising or bleeding
⦁ Pale skin, lips, or nails
⦁ Signs of liver disease (dark urine, severe stomach or abdominal pain, and yellowing eyes or skin)
⦁ Muscle weakness
⦁ Unwanted or uncontrolled movements including face and tongue twitching
If you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, trouble breathing, or swelling of lips, face, or tongue), call for medical help right away.
Warnings and Precautions
⦁ Before taking Chloroquine, tell your doctor if you ever had hearing problems, liver disease, vision problems, psoriasis, seizures, kidney disease, or porphyria.
⦁ Let your doctor know if you drink a large amount of alcohol before starting this treatment.
⦁ Your doctor will probably want to order frequent tests to check the response of your body to Chloroquine.
⦁ Taking Chloroquine at high doses or for long-term may cause to the retina of your eye irreversible damage. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have trouble focusing.
⦁ Do not receive any vaccination while using this drug. Consult your doctor first.
⦁ Don’t breastfeed while having this medication.
⦁ Let your doctor know if you are planning to become pregnant or might become pregnant while taking Chloroquine. You need to discuss the benefits and risks of using this medicine while your pregnant.
⦁ If you have any dietary instructions, follow it carefully. Continue your diet unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
⦁ Keep this drug on the container it came in, tightly closed, and far from the reach of children. Store Chloroquine at room temperature away from direct heat or moisture.