The antimalarial drug used by Donald Trump as a treatment for Covid-19 has been linked to a significant increase in the risk of coronavirus patients dying in hospital, according to the largest ever study of its kind.
The study of 96,000 patients published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday found that those who were given hydroxychloroquine had a 34 percent increase in risk of mortality and a 137 percent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias.
For those receiving hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic, the combination of treatment endorsed by Mr Trump, there was a 45 per cent increased risk of death and a 411 per cent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias. Those given chloroquine, a closely related drug, had a 37 per cent increased risk of death and a 256 per cent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias.
The US president caused alarm this week when he announced that he was taking hydroxychloroquine despite concerns from health officials over its side effects, asking: “What do you have to lose?”