Doctors warn against using unproven treatments for COVID-19

If your doctor hasn’t prescribed it, don’t use it.

That’s the warning from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., the B.C. College of Nursing Professionals and the College of Pharmacists of B.C. regarding unproven therapies to treat COVID-19.

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Those health professionals released a joint press release Thursday to caution the public against listening to online and social-media-driven discussions about using antibiotics and antiviral therapies prescribed to treat malaria, HIV/AIDS and other conditions.

None of those medicines have been approved for use in the treatment of COVID-19, according to the statement.

“Although all British Columbians are hopeful a cure or treatment can be found quickly, it is critical to note that at this time, a proven treatment for COVID-19 does not exist,” the press release states.

“It is important to understand that there are potential harms to the patient, risks to our understanding of what is truly a beneficial treatment or not, and depleting access to therapies known to be helpful or essential in other disease states. For these reasons, the use of unproven therapies for COVID-19 is not recommended outside of clinical trials,” the BC Center for Disease Control stated.

Among the treatments that remain unproven and should not be used are the following drugs: hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, azithromycin, lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) and colchicine.

Using any of the above for things other than their prescribed uses could present significant health risks to the patient. It could also reduce access to patients who have been prescribed those medications to treat other conditions.

Although the situation around COVID-19 is changing rapidly, health care professionals say any treatment should be overseen by a physician.

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