Texas City nursing home doctor explains using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients | Houston Chronicle

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.

Armstrong, who is a Texas Republican National Convention committee member, said the drug has been around for decades and that he understands well how it works.

“I am confident that the risk of the medication is low, and the failure rate, if they’re not treated, is fairly high,” Armstrong said. “So I am making the call that it is worth treating them with medications that we’re very familiar with that has a very low risk factor profile and it’s worth doing that as opposed to allowing them to go out into the community, allowing them to go to the hospital where the mortality rate is very high.”

He added, “If I had a loved one who was COVID-19 positive and they had the risk factors that I’ve outlined, I would certainly start them on it.”

Armstrong said most of those that learned about the treatment were excited to hear that the drug was available to try.

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