NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ Health Ministry on Thursday advised doctors to curtail the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on some COVID-19 patients amid renewed concerns that the drugs could trigger heart problems and put lives at risk.
The ministry urged doctors on Thursday to be “particularly vigilant” and to even stop administering the two substances to COVID-19 patients with pre-existing heart conditions.
The ministry said an advisory body of medical experts is re-evaluating the use of the drugs and may revise its directives.
The announcement came after the World Health Organization said it would temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments.
A paper published last week in the Lancet showed people taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death and heart problems than those that were not.
Cyprus’ health minister said last month that the country was among the first nations to approve use of the anti-malaria drug to treat COVID-19 patients.
Cypriot authorities procured enough chloroquine to treat as many as 240,000 people — roughly a quarter of the island nation’s population — if they became infected.
It was part of a five-ton consignment of the drug that Cyprus and Israel jointly purchased from India.
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