Drugs

Blood Pressure Drugs Don’t Increase Coronavirus Risk, Studies Find

Drugs that are widely prescribed to treat high blood pressure do not make patients more susceptible to coronavirus infection, or to severe illness if they do become infected, researchers reported on Friday.

Their findings are good news for millions of people who take blood pressure drugs that belong to two classes: ACE inhibitors, which include lisinopril, captopril and other drugs with generic names ending in –pril; and ARBs, which include losartan, valsartan and other generic drugs ending in –sartan. Brand names for ACE inhibitors include Zestril and Prinivil; for ARBs, Cozaar and Atacand.

Since the epidemic began, conflicting theories have circulated about whether those drugs could make the disease better or worse, or have any effect at all.

The U.S. study also found no risk linked to three other classes of commonly used blood pressure drugs — beta blockers, calcium-channel blockers and thiazide diuretics.

Both studies were based on reviewing

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Old Drugs May Find a New Purpose: Fighting the Coronavirus

In the early 1950s, psychiatrists began treating schizophrenia with a new drug called chlorpromazine. Seven decades later, the drug is still used as an anti-psychotic.

But now scientists have discovered that the drug, also known as Thorazine, can do something entirely different. It can stop the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 from invading cells.

Driven by the pandemic’s spread, research teams have been screening thousands of drugs to see if they have this unexpected potential to fight the coronavirus. They’ve tested the drugs on dishes of cells, and a few dozen candidates have made the first cut.

They’re startlingly diverse. Some, like chlorpromazine, have been used for years — not for viral infections, but for conditions including cancer, allergies, arthritis, even irregular menstrual periods. Other drugs have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but they have already proven safe in clinical trials. Their track records

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Prescriptions Surged as Trump Praised Drugs in Coronavirus Fight

It was at a midday briefing last month that President Trump first used the White House telecast to promote two antimalarial drugs in the fight against the coronavirus.

“I think it could be something really incredible,” Mr. Trump said on March 19, noting that while more study was needed, the two drugs had shown “very, very encouraging results” in treating the virus.

By that evening, first-time prescriptions of the drugs — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — poured into retail pharmacies at more than 46 times the rate of the average weekday, according to an analysis of prescription data by The New York Times. And the nearly 32,000 prescriptions came from across the spectrum — rheumatologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, psychiatrists and even podiatrists, the data shows.

While medical experts have since stepped up warnings about the drugs’ possibly dangerous side effects, they were still being prescribed at more than six times the normal

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F.D.A. Warns of Heart Problems From Malaria Drugs Used for Coronavirus

The drugs can cause dangerous abnormalities in heart rhythm in coronavirus patients, and should be used only in clinical trials or hospitals where patients can be closely monitored for heart problems, the Food and Drug Administration warned in a safety communication issued on Friday.

Several medical societies, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Cardiology, have warned of the risks of using malaria drugs with azithromycin to treat patients with Covid-19 outside of a clinical trial or without close monitoring.

“The F.D.A. is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with Covid-19

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