NEW DELHI: Many healthcare workers who took anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) reported side-effects like abdominal pain, nausea and hypoglycemia during a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to evaluate the efficacy and side-effects of the drug as a prophylactic treatment.
“A study has been launched to know the side-effects of HCQ. We found that healthcare workers having an average age of 35 years took these drugs and 10% reported abdominal pain, 6% reported nausea and 1.3% reported hypoglycemia,” ICMR head of epidemiology and communicable diseases Dr R R Gangakhedkar said.
He added that around 22% of these healthcare workers also had other conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and blood pressure and therefore, probably out of fear, took HCQ as a preventive measure.
Apart from this, ICMR is also conducting a cohort study to evaluate HCQ’s impact. “We are not doing a trial and we don’t have sufficient evidence base to do a trial. There will be about 480 patients who will be enrolled and it will go on for about 2.5 months,” Dr Gangakhedkar said.