Pharmacists warn against Covid-19 drugs

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THE Retail Pharmacists Association (RPA) has warned members of the public against certain drugs said to treat Covid-19 as there is no proven cure but urged people to take recommended supplements to boost their immune system.

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Of late, there are a number of drugs that are being thrown around as being able to cure the virus but no studies have confirmed these claims.

One of the drugs is an old malaria drug which desperate people are buying after going viral on social media.

Hydroxychloroquine, sold under the brand name Plaquenil, is used to prevent and treat malaria but the World Health Organisation had to discontinue a trial on it after interim results showed that its use produced little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

Medical experts say people with weakened immune systems are more prone to the global pandemic.

These include people with chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, asthma and HIV.

Old people have been the hardest hit age group even in terms of people who succumb to Covid-19.

In a statement, Mr Luckmore Bunu the secretary of the RPA, a professional association whose members are community pharmacists said some drugs have been flighted on social media and some politicians have claimed that they work against Covid-19.

Mr Bunu said currently, there is no proven cure for the virus but a number of studies are being carried out to try and find a cure.

He said one of the roles of pharmacists is to educate the public on the correct and safe use of medicines and medicinal products.

“Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in December 2019, a lot of unconfirmed claims and reports have been made with regards the treatment and management of the disease,” said Mr Bunu.

“Be that as it may, there are some supplements that may be used that help to boost one’s immunity. Some of the recommended supplements are, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex, and Zinc tablet and they should be taken at recommended doses. Paracetamol is to be taken when one has pain or fever, or both.”

Mr Bunu said there are some medicines which are being discussed on social media in relation to Covid-19 treatment, and they are only available on a doctor’s prescription.

“Some of those medicines can cause serious side effects when they are used incorrectly. We should remember that Covid-19 infection is a serious disease, and the use of inappropriate medication can make the patient worse or result in unwarranted loss of life. These medicines which are being discussed in social media are actually being used under medical supervision, as they are being tested and monitored for effectiveness in the treatment of Covid- 19 disease,” he said.

Mr Bunu said people must not self-medicate at home.

“Kindly visit your doctor or call your doctor when feeling unwell. Visit your pharmacist if you require the supplements. Do not take any medicines for the management or treatment of Covid- 19 without discussing with your doctor or pharmacist,” he said.

Mr Bunu encouraged people to practise WHO guidelines to mitigate against the spread of the virus.

He said to reduce chances of catching or transmitting Covid-19 infection, people are urged to keep warm in this winter, always wear face masks correctly, practise good hand hygiene, practise physical (social) distancing, avoid unnecessary movement, eat lots of vegetables and fruits, drink adequate fluids, and seek medical care when unwell. chronicle

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