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Coronavirus New Warning: FDA Alerts About Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine Use After Poisonings, Deaths

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about an anti-malaria drug being used to treat COVID-19 coronavirus patients.

The FDA said hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine could cause dangerous disruptions in heart rhythm and they should only be used in clinical trials and hospitals.

Both have gained attention for their use in combination with zinc or the antibiotic azithromycin, but results have varied.

Some suffering from coronavirus have praised the drug combo for their survival, such as James Cannizzaro in New York.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"It was just a horrible situation. I'm on a floor and everybody had the virus and people were passing away and I thought I was going to pass away," Cannizzaro said of his condition before being given chloroquine in the hospital.

"Friday, I got better. Saturday, I got better. Sunday, I almost felt like my old self. So that drug is really what saved my life, to be honest with you," Cannizzaro said.

READ: FDA Warning On Hydroxychloroquine Or Chloroquine For COVID-1

The FDA says there's no proof yet the treatment can help against the virus.

President Donald Trump had previously promoted the drugs as possibly effective against COVID, as well as injecting disinfectants into a person's body.

That presidential recommendation immediately spurred doctors, lawmakers, social media and even disinfectant manufacturers to respond with disbelief, pointing out that such use is dangerous and could even be fatal.

On Friday, the New York City Poison Control Center reported it managed "nine cases specifically about exposure to Lysol, 10 cases specifically about bleach and 11 cases about exposures to other household cleaners."

None of these exposures resulted in hospitalization or death.

State and local governments across the United States have obtained about 30 million doses of a malaria drug touted by Trump to treat patients with the coronavirus, despite the warnings more research was needed.

At least 22 states and Washington, D.C., secured shipments of hydroxychloroquine, according to information compiled from state and federal officials by The Associated Press.

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