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FDA revokes its authorization of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus

Coronavirus outbreak: FDA revokes emergency use of malaria drugs for COVID-19
WATCH: FDA revokes emergency use of malaria drugs for COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is revoking its emergency authorization for malaria drugs promoted by President Donald Trump for treating COVID-19 amid growing evidence they don’t work and could cause deadly side effects.

The agency said Monday that the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are unlikely to be effective in treating the coronavirus. Citing reports of heart complications, the FDA said the drugs pose a greater risk to patients than any potential benefits.

READ MORE: Hydroxychloroquine doesn’t prevent COVID-19 in people exposed to the virus, study finds

The decades-old drugs, also prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trump touts hydroxychloroquine even as U.S. revokes emergency use status
Coronavirus outbreak: Trump touts hydroxychloroquine even as U.S. revokes emergency use status

The move means that shipments of the drugs obtained by the federal government will no longer be distributed to state and local health authorities. The drugs are still available for alternate uses, so U.S. doctors could still prescribe them for COVID-19 — a practice known as off-label prescribing.

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READ MORE: More than 40,000 health-care workers taking part in hydroxychloroquine trial

On Thursday, a National Institutes of Health expert panel revised its guidelines to specifically recommend against the drug’s use except in formal studies.

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Trump aggressively pushed the drug beginning in the first weeks of the outbreak and stunned medical professionals when he revealed he took the drug preemptively against infection.