Do Not Take Chloroquine Phosphate Intended for Fish to Treat Covid-19


The coronavirus (COVID-19) has overwhelmed the world at an alarming rate. Currently, there are no vaccines or medicines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are proven effective against COVID-19. Recently, there have been some reports of medicines potentially having positive results against COVID-19. Two of these medicines are hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which are used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and sometimes lupus. In any case, these medicines are not approved by FDA to treat COVID-19, and no one knows for sure if they are safe and effective against COVID-19. More research is needed before that can happen. However, hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine may be given to a person who has a diagnosis of COVID-19 only if a doctor orders it.

Unfortunately, there have been reports of people taking chloroquine phosphate, a chemical used to treat disease in aquarium fish. Some people mistakenly think chloroquine phosphate is the same as the medicine chloroquine that is used for humans. It is NOT. In fact, in one case, a man died after he and his wife took chloroquine phosphate used to treat their aquarium fish. His wife became critically ill.

Chemicals and drugs that are used to treat fish and other animals are not exactly the same as medicines that can be used for humans. Products marketed for veterinary use, or that are otherwise not for human consumption, have not been evaluated for safety and should never be used by humans. Specifically, chloroquine products sold for aquarium use have not been tested by FDA to show they are safe and effective for people. Bottom line—people should not take any chloroquine product unless it has been ordered by a doctor and is obtained through a pharmacy. Also, do not give chloroquine products to pets or livestock to prevent COVID-19. If you are concerned about the health of your animals, please contact your veterinarian.

Created on April 16, 2020

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