President Trump is feeling “perfect” after taking hydroxychloroquine and would take the drug again if he felt he were exposed to the novel coronavirus, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday.
“He is feeling perfect,” McEnany told reporters. “He is feeling absolutely great after taking this regimen.”
McEnany, who said she spoke with Trump about the subject just before the briefing, said Trump told her that he “would take it again if he thought he was exposed.”
Trump revealed last week that he was taking the drug along with zinc as a preventative measure, despite doubts about its effectiveness in treating the novel coronavirus and concerns about safety.
Trump said he decided to take the drug after hearing positive reports from doctors and front-line health care workers, telling reporters last week it gave him an “additional level of safety.”
Hydroxychloroquine has not been proven effective in treating patients with COVID-19, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned against the use of it outside hospital settings or clinical trials due to the risk of heart rhythm problems. The drug has been used to treat patients with malaria and lupus.
A study of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients published last week by the Lancet medical journal found that the drug was not effective in treating the disease and left patients at higher risk of developing irregular heart rhythm.
Anthony Faucil, a top U.S. infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN Wednesday that the drug is not an effective treatment.
McEnany noted during Thursday’s briefing that it was important for Americans to consult their doctors when considering taking the drug, which would need to be prescribed. But she went on to note that the drug has been approved for off-label use and has been used to treat patients with other conditions, suggesting the media coverage about the drug’s safety has been hyperbolic.