American Thoracic Society Releases Suggestions About Treating COVID-19 Patients; Includes Note on Hydroxychloroquine
A worldwide task force led by the American Thoracic Society (ATS) released COVID‐19: Interim Guidance on Management Pending Empirical Evidence, a suggestions list for clinicians treating COVID-19 patients. The group is upfront about calling its guideline points "suggestions" rather than "recommendations" because much is yet to be known about COVID-19 and there is limited empirical evidence available at this time.
One noteworthy suggestion from their list is about hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs that have typically been used to prevent or treat malaria. The drugs are controversial, given that there's only limited and anecdotal evidence on their effect on COVID-19. They suggested that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine should only be used on a hospitalized COVID-19 patient with pneumonia on a case-by-case basis and if all four of these points apply:
- shared decision-making is possible
- data can be collected for interim comparisons of patients who received hydroxychloroquine (or chloroquine) versus those who did not
- the illness is sufficiently severe to warrant investigational therapy
- the drug is not in short supply