FDA: Don't use chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 preventive drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 24) — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday warned against the use of drugs that are claimed to prevent COVID-19 infection.

It reminded that there is still no specific medicine recommended to avoid getting the coronavirus disease. There is also no cure yet, it said.

US President Donald Trump has called chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus — as "game changers."

Related: Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine: what to know about the potential coronavirus drugs

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also said they proved effective against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses, including the SARS strain that causes COVID-19.

But the local FDA warned the use of these two drugs to prevent COVID-19 infection may lead to blurring of vision, color blindness, muscle weakness and spasm, psychotic disorders, and weakening of heart muscles.

"Take only medicine prescribed by your doctor. Proper handwashing and social distancing are the only way to prevent you from getting infected," it said in a Facebook post.

A man in Arizona died after self-medicating with chloroquine to treat coronavirus, CNN reported. Also, officials in Nigeria's Lagos state have reported three overdoses in the days since the drug entered the conversation surrounding the pandemic.