from the Dallas Morning News, April 8, 2020
By Allie Morris
AUSTIN -- The state’s public health agency is sending hundreds of bottles of an unproven coronavirus treatment to hospitals in Dallas and across Texas.
Mineola Sen. Bryan Hughes brokered the donation of 1 million hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets, an anti-malaria drug President Donald Trump has promoted in the treatment of COVID-19, but that experts warn is not yet proven effective.
“The data are really just at best suggestive,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said recently on CBS. “There have been cases that show there may be an effect … and there are others to show there’s no effect.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services has shipped out over 63,000 hydroxychloroquine tablets in the past two weeks to at least 70 hospitals -- a fraction of the state’s overall supply that indicates medical professionals may not be clamoring for the drug, records show.
In one of the largest known examples, the medical director of a Texas City nursing home has given hydroxychloroquine to roughly 39 of the residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Since starting a 5-day regimen of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and the vitamin zinc, the first group of patients either improved or stayed the same, said Dr. Robin Armstrong. None has gone to the hospital. He acknowledged it is not clear whether the drugs are to thank or the patients’ own immune response.
“That’s a hard thing to tease out,” Armstrong said. “We are compiling a lot of data to try to figure that question out ourselves.”
from the San Angelo Standard Times April 8, 2020
by Emma Platoff and Patrick Svitek, Texas Tribune
More than two dozen Texas City nursing home residents who have tested positive for the new coronavirus are being treated with hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that President Donald Trump has touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19, even as medical experts urge caution because it has yet to be vetted for that purpose through robust clinical trials.
The doctor who prescribed it to 27 residents of The Resort at Texas City was Robin Armstrong, the nursing home’s medical director and a prominent GOP activist who serves as a surrogate for the Trump campaign. The drug’s efficacy is being tested at the nursing home, where more than 80 residents and workers have tested positive for the new coronavirus, as its role in treating COVID-19 patients is debated across the country. The federal government has approved it on an emergency basis in some COVID-19 cases, though medical experts — including some inside the Trump administration — have been far less willing to embrace its widespread use.
Armstrong, who said his politics have nothing to do with his practice as a physician, acknowledged that there has not been robust clinical testing of the drug for this purpose but said he is very familiar with the medication and the risks and benefits it carries. The disease’s mortality rate is higher among elderly coronavirus patients, he said, so he wanted to try something proactive to help them heal — to “treat folks like I would my mom,” he said in an interview Monday evening.
from the Houston Chronicle April 7, 2020 Updated: April 8, 2020 12:46 p.m.
The doctor who prescribed an unproven medication to more than two dozen COVID-19 patients at the Resort at Texas City, the site of one of the largest outbreaks in the Houston area, said the decision was between him and his patients and he did not notify families before the drugs were administered.
Dr. Robin Armstrong said he thought the potential benefits outweighed the risks.
While hydroxychloroquine is not approved for treating COVID-19, which so far has no cure, preliminary studies have suggested it might tamp down its symptoms.
State health officials say 10,000 bottles of the drug — commonly known by its brand name Plaquenil — have also been provided to 61 Texas hospitals for use on coronavirus patients.
from US News & World Report April 7, 2020
By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When a coronavirus outbreak hit a Texas nursing home, Dr. Robin Armstrong reached for an unproven treatment: the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
Armstrong, the medical director at the facility, said Tuesday it is too soon to tell whether the treatment will work. But his sweeping use of the drug at one nursing home along the smoggy Texas coastline illustrates how Trump's championing of the medication is having an impact on doctors across the U.S., even as scientists warn that more testing is needed before it’s proven safe and effective against COVID-19.
“I probably would not have been able to get the medication had he not been talking about it so much,” Armstrong told The Associated Press.
A group of COVID-19 positive residents at a Texas City nursing home are being treated with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday.
The drug has been the subject of controversy in recent weeks because of its debated effectiveness in combating COVID-19.
Twenty-seven of the residents infected with COVID-19 at The Resort at Texas City nursing home, 1720 N. Logan St., are being treated with hydroxychloroquine, said Dr. Robin Armstrong, the medical director at the Resort at Texas City.
The Galveston County Health District confirmed last week that 83 people at the residence, including residents and employees, had been diagnosed with COVID-19.