Woman who has taken hydroxychloroquine since ’08 worries about supply after many think it can help treat coronavirus

Woman who has taken hydroxychloroquine since ’08 worries about supply after many think it can help treat coronavirus
Tranell Craig has sarcoidosis, which is an autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation, usually in your lungs, skin, or lymph nodes. She takes hydroxychloroquine on a regular basis. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says more help is on the way for Louisiana’s coronavirus patients.

“It is our hope that access to these drugs now will allow an LSU clinical study to continue and allow patients in Louisiana to have some hope of relief,” said Landry.

Depending on who you talk to, this could be a game changer.

President Donald Trump has called hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, when taken together, a game changer in the fight against COVID-19. However, it’s still being tested in clinical trials.

Those people suffering from diseases like lupus, arthritis, or others are hopeful there’s enough medicine to go around.

“Just slows you down, you can’t fight off infection. It’s basically an infection in your blood,” said Tranell Craig of Baton Rouge.

Craig has sarcoidosis, which is an autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation, usually in your lungs, skin, or lymph nodes.

“And if I don’t have my meds, I can’t function on a daily basis,” said Craig

She usually gets a 90-day supply of hydroxychloroquine, or Plaquenil (the brand name), prescribed by her doctor, but with the increased demand for the drug, she’s worried about the overall supply.

“This medicine has been my saving grace, I guess you would say, since 2008, and if everybody’s going to use it, it’s going to be hard. The availability is not going to be there for me,” said Craig.

“I have patients that are on it [hydroxychloroquine] and we have been getting calls from a few patients that they had some difficulty getting some refills from some pharmacies,” said Dr. Saravanan Thiagarajan.

Dr. Thiagarajan is the section head of rheumatology at Ochsner Baton Rouge, and uses hydroxychloroquine in his rheumatology practice on a daily basis, and is very well educated on this drug.

“That is the hypothesis so far when it comes to the coronavirus and the Plaquenil that it might reduce your body’s way of hyper-reacting to the virus so that you are not reacting very highly, and this ends up with high multiplication of vitals in your body,” said Dr. Thiagarajan.

But he says people with autoimmune diseases like lupus are at high risk for the coronavirus, so it’s urgent they can still get their medicine.

“The last thing we want for our lupus patients to be, is there is a flare while there is a pandemic going on. So we don’t want them to go to a hospital because there is a high risk of exposure to this virus,” said Dr. Thiagarajan.

India makes a lot of the hydroxychloroquine and they had refused to export any of it.

President Trump threatened them with what he called “retaliation” if that happens, and hours later, the India prime minister perhaps changed his tune, saying the will send the drug to countries that need it.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.