According to a new study published in JAMA, US prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine surged nearly 2000% in March when President Donald Trump first touted the drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19, reported CNBC.
The study found that during the week of March 15 to March 21, there were 45,858 short-term prescription fills for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, compared to 2208 in 2019.
Investigators said 28-to-60 day and 61-plus day prescriptions generally used by people with chronic conditions like lupus climbed 179% and 182%, respectively, during that week.
Overall, there were 483,425 excess prescriptions fills of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in the 10 weeks from February 16 to April 25 examined by the study, the authors said.
The findings come shortly after a study published in The Lancet suggested that hospitalized COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death than those who did not take it.