Worries about lupus drug

Worries about lupus drug

The drug hydroxychloroquine, typically used to treat people with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, is being used to treat COVID-19. That has led the federal centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups to worry about a possible shortage. 

This spring the leading scientist for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent out a letter authorizing the use of hydroxychloroquine, commonly known as Plaquenil, in the treatment of COVID-19. It allows the release of the drug from the national stockpile. 

The Lupus Foundation of America is voicing concerns. “We are concerned that increased demand for these drugs attributed to COVID-19 has exacerbated their already limited availability for patients who rely on them to meet their medical needs. Therefore, we urge you to work with us and the broader health care community to help ensure continued availability of these drugs for the patients who are maintained on them to avoid disability, illness and even early death.” 

“I’ve been on this medication for years. I went off this medication (at the recommendation of my doctor) just to see what would happen and my kidneys started spilling protein and blood again. So I know that this medication is life saving and it’s keeping me in remission and my story is common amongst lupus patients,” said Regan Birr, founder of the Lupus Research Foundation. 

Birr said she recently saw her normal 90-day prescription for hydroxychloroquine reduced to a 45-day prescription. 

Because lupus is an immune disorder, it puts people living with it at higher risk for complications related to COVID-19. 

(Source: Fox 9 News)