As you may have heard, hydroxychloroquine has been in the news as a possible treatment for COVID-19. This is a medication that is prescribed for malaria as well as the chronic autoimmune diseases lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

On March 28, 2020 the FDA approved an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to be used for adolescent and adult hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
*This measure was based on small studies from China and France.

The rationale for using this medication for COVID-19 is that the medication can stop the virus from invading cells, and that it can dial back an overactive immune system. However, large scale placebo-controlled studies are required to clarify the specific mechanisms, viability, and optimal treatment protocols. Hydroxychloroquine is not appropriate for use in patients with abnormal heart rhythms, certain eye diseases, and liver or kidney problems.

The Texas State Board of Pharmacy put in place medication limitations for these medications requiring a written diagnosis from the prescriber consistent with the evidence for use, limits new prescriptions to a 14-day supply, and prohibits refills without a new prescription order.
The American Medical Association, American Pharmacist Association, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists caution against stockpiling these medications or depleting supplies with excessive, anticipatory orders because this can limit supplies for those patients with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

The Good News

While hydroxychloroquine is on backorder from major wholesalers right now, Peoples Rx has a limited supply of the commercially available product as well as a supply of hydroxychloroquine USP powder to compound prescriptions for those who require treatment, especially those who need it for their chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases.

Should the hydroxychloroquine chemical for compounding become unavailable for those patients with autoimmune issues, Peoples Rx compounds an alternative therapy of low dose naltrexone, or LDN. Studies show that LDN can be an effective off-label therapy for fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, and other autoimmune issues. LDN is typically dosed at less than 5mg/day and is available as a prescription compound in a capsule, suspension, or topical formulation. In addition, LDN is well tolerated and affordable.

Feel free to reach out to our pharmacists with any questions about these treatments and availability. Thank you for sticking with the Peoples Rx team while we navigate these dynamic times.
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