A Phoenix-area man is dead and his wife is under critical care after the two took chloroquine phosphate in an apparent attempt to self-medicate for the novel coronavirus, according to hospital system Banner Health.
Chloroquine has been touted by President Donald Trump as a possible treatment for Covid-19, but it’s also “an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks,” Banner Health said in a statement. Chloroquine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. But the FDA has not approved it to treat the coronavirus.
Banner Health experts emphasized that the medication — as well as other “inappropriate medications and household products” — “should not be ingested to treat or prevent this virus.”
“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus,” Dr. Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director, said in the statement. “But self-medicating is not the way to do so.”
Banner Health, which is based in Arizona, didn’t give any details on how the couple, both in their 60s, acquired the chloroquine or which Banner hospital treated them.