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ICMR Recommends Hydroxychloroquine Use in Emergency Situations

ICMR Recommends Hydroxychloroquine Use in Emergency Situations

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  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been recommended for prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection by the ICMR
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has revised the guidelines for the use of HCQ
  • Also, HCQ was found to be effective in preventing COVID-19 in healthcare workers

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been recommended by the National Task force for COVID-19 constituted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as a preventive treatment for people who are at a high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The protocol was approved by the Drug Controller General of India for restricted use only in emergency situations.


HCQ is found to be effective against coronavirus (COVID-19) in laboratory and in-vivo studies. Pre-clinical data shows that HCQ can be used in as an emergency treatment for COVID-19.

New Guidelines for All Indian States

All healthcare workers under chemoprophylaxis should follow the prescribed public health measures such as frequent washing of hands, respiratory etiquettes, maintaining social distance of minimum one meter and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). They should self-monitor their health and incase if they are becoming symptomatic, they should immediately report to health authorities.

Patients, who are at high risk and are under chemoprophylaxis, should remain in home-quarantine while on prophylactic therapy. If the patient develops any other symptoms apart from fever, cough, and breathing difficulty, the patient should immediately seek medical treatment.

HCQ drug can be administered only if a registered medical practitioner gives a prescription. The contraindications mentioned in the guidelines need to be strictly followed.

Who's Eligible for Hydroxychloroquine Treatment?

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is recommended by the advisory for all:
  • Asymptomatic frontline workers involved in the care of COVID-19 cases, and
  • Asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.
What is the Dosage of Hydroxychloroquine?
  • 400 mg twice a day on Day 1, followed by 400 mg once weekly for next 7 weeks and it is to be taken with meals by asymptomatic frontline workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • 400 mg twice a day on Day 1, followed by 400 mg once weekly for next 3 weeks; to be taken with meals by asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases
Who Should Not Take the Drug?
  • The drug is not recommended for children under 15 years of age
  • The drug is contraindicated in people with known case of retinopathy, known hypersensitivity to hydroxychloroquine, 4-aminoquinoline compounds
Key Points to Remember:
  • The drug can be given only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner
  • Advised to consult with a physician for any adverse event or potential drug interaction before initiation of medication
  • The prophylactic use of HCQ to be coupled with the pharmacovigilance for adverse drug reactions through self-reporting using the Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI) helpline/app
  • If anyone becomes symptomatic while on prophylaxis, the individual should immediately contact the health facility, get tested as per national guidelines and follow the standard treatment protocol
  • All asymptomatic contacts of laboratory confirmed cases should remain in home quarantine as per the national guidelines, even if they are on prophylactic therapy
  • Simultaneously, proof of concept and pharmacokinetics studies be taken up expeditiously. Findings from these studies and other new evidence will guide any change in the recommendation.

Source: Medindia

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