UPDATE: Should Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) or Chloroquine (CQ) be used in the treatment of COVID-19?

  • Lia M. Palileo-Villanueva
  • Elenore Judy B. Uy
Keywords: chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, COVID-19, SARS-CoV2



There is insufficient evidence to support the routine use of HCQ or CQ for the treatment of COVID-19. Results

from interim analyses of 2 large RCTs, the Recovery and the Solidarity trials, reportedly showed no clinical benefit

from HCQ for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

  • There are 3 randomized controlled trials that investigated the efficacy and safety of HCQ compared to standard

therapy. Overall quality of evidence was very low.

  • Meta-analyses from the “COVID-19 Living Data” project suggests that the use of HCQ may increase the

incidence of adverse events at day 14 to day 28 (RR 2.49, 95% confidence interval: 1.04 to 5.98, moderate

quality of evidence); the most common adverse event across the two trials is diarrhea (n=8).

  • In a statement dated June 5, 2020, the investigators of the Recovery trial announced their decision to halt

further enrollment to the HCQ arm of the trial because an interim analysis showed no clinical benefit from

the use of HCQ in hospitalized patients with COVID.

  • On June 15, 2020, the US FDA revoked the emergency use authorization for HCQ and CQ as treatment for


  • On June 18, 2020, the WHO announced that recruitment to the HCQ arm of the Solidarity trial has been halted.

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