Arizona man dies, wife hospitalized after taking chemicals to protect from coronavirus

Arizona man dies, wife hospitalized after taking chemicals to protect from coronavirus
Posted at 8:16 PM, Mar 23, 2020

Banner Health experts are warning the public against using "inappropriate medications" after an Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after taking chemicals they believed could help protect against coronavirus.

On Sunday, the man and his wife, both in their 60s, took chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used to clean fish tanks, and within 30 minutes experienced effects that required admittance to a nearby Banner Health facility. The man died and his wife remains under critical care, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The woman, who was able to throw up the chemicals, is likely going to survive, said the spokesperson.

The woman reportedly told hospital staffers that she and her husband ingested the product after reading a "fake" article online and saw symptoms shortly after taking it.

“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director. “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”

Some physicians have recently come out saying that the medication chloroquine, which has been used to treat malaria since the 1940s, can be effective at preventing as well as treating the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome , or SARS, a close cousin of COVID-19.

But Banner Health experts say the use of specific treatments, including those described as "anti-COVID-19" is not recommended for any non-hospitalized patients.

“We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients,” Brooks said of chloroquine.

Last week, President Trump declared chloroquine a “game changer” in the effort to develop a coronavirus treatment and announced the drug had been “approved.”

Chloroquine, or hydroxychloroquine, has been approved to treat and prevent malaria since 1944. But no drug has been approved to treat COVID-19, and a vaccine is estimated to remain at least a year away.

According to Banner, most of the patients who do become sick with coronavirus will only require care for their specific symptoms and should self-isolate to prevent infecting others.

This article was written by KNXV .