Health officials want to warn the public against using non-pharmaceutical drugs such as chloroquine products and other aquarium chemicals to self-treat for COVID-19. Using products like chloroquine phosphate, without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences, including death.
Pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat specific medical conditions, such as malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Currently, these medications are being studied and evaluated as treatment for COVID-19; however, their efficacy to either prevent or treat this infection are unknown. In overdose situations or when used inappropriately, these medications can lead to severe toxicity, including death. At this time, there are not any pharmaceutical products that are FDA-approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has become aware of two individuals who ingested non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate, a chemical for aquarium use that is commercially available for public purchase. One of the individuals died and the second became critically ill. Upon recovery, the surviving individual reported that they ingested the product to prevent infection of coronavirus after seeing information on the medical use of chloroquine on television. CDC is also aware of unconfirmed reports that these commercially available aquarium-use chemicals may be out of stock due to potential increased demand by the public.
Recommendations for the public
• Take medications only as prescribed and directed by healthcare providers.
• Do not ingest aquarium use products or any other chemicals that contain chloroquine phosphate. These chemicals are not intended for human consumption and can lead to serious health consequences.
• Seek immediate medical attention if experiencing any unexpected symptoms after taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine by contacting a healthcare provider or the poison center at (800) 222-1222.