CORONAVIRUS

Fearing Coronavirus, Ariz. Man Dies After Taking Form Of Chloroquine Used To Treat Aquariums

Mar 24, 2020, 8:47 AM
Medical staff shows on February 26, 2020 at the IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute in Marseille, ...
Medical staff shows on February 26, 2020 at the IHU Mediterranee Infection Institute in Marseille, packets of a Nivaquine, tablets containing chloroquine and Plaqueril, tablets containing hydroxychloroquine, drugs that has shown signs of effectiveness against coronavirus. (Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images)
(Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) — A Phoenix-area man is dead and his wife is under critical care after the two took chloroquine phosphate in an apparent attempt to self-medicate for the novel coronavirus, according to hospital system Banner Health.

It does not appear they took the pharmaceutical version of the drug, but rather “an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks,” Banner Health said in a statement.

Though Banner did not provide additional details, NBC News spoke to the wife, who said they learned of chloroquine’s connection to coronavirus during a President Donald Trump news conference, which “was on a lot actually.” They took it because they “were afraid of getting sick,” she said.

“I had (the substance) in the house because I used to have koi fish,” she told the network. “I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, ‘Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?'”

Trump has touted chloroquine as a possible treatment for Covid-19. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but the FDA has not approved it to treat the coronavirus.

Banner Health experts emphasized that the medication — as well as other “inappropriate medications and household products” — “should not be ingested to treat or prevent this virus.”

“Given the uncertainty around Covid-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus,” Dr. Daniel Brooks, medical director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, said in the statement. “But self-medicating is not the way to do so.”

Seven years ago, the publication, Advanced Aquarist, heralded three forms of chloroquine as “a ‘new’ drug for treating fish diseases” and detailed its effectiveness in fighting off certain parasites in saltwater aquariums.

One online aquarium retailer, which was sold out of “the wonder drug” Tuesday, included in its terms of use that customers agree to use chloroquine “ONLY in the treatment and maintenance of ornamental fish. … We agree not to intentionally divert these chemicals for any other use.”

Banner Health, which is based in Arizona, didn’t give any details on how the couple, both in their 60s, acquired the chloroquine or which Banner hospital treated them.

“Within thirty minutes of ingestion, the couple experienced immediate effects requiring admittance to a nearby Banner Health hospital,” its statement said.

Trump has called chloroquine and the closely related hydroxychloroquine potentially important in the fight against Covid-19.

“HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” he tweeted Saturday.

Early research suggests the drug could be useful against the virus, but Trump’s comments have prompted health officials to warn that further study is needed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said the drugs may be effective against the novel coronavirus. However, he told CBS’ Margaret Brennan on Sunday that Trump had heard about the hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination’s effectiveness from anecdotal reports.

“I’m not disagreeing with the fact anecdotally they might work, but my job is to prove definitively from a scientific standpoint that they do work,” said Fauci, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force.

Your coronavirus questions answered

In Nigeria, health officials issued a warning about chloroquine, saying three people in the country have overdosed on the drug after Trump endorsed it as a potential treatment.

Banner Health said it is “strongly urging” health care providers not to prescribe chloroquine to patients who aren’t hospitalized.

“The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health,” Brooks said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus

...
Associated Press

CDC drops traveler health notices for individual countries

The CDC is doing away with notices about the COVID-19 risk of visiting specific countries.
4 days ago
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
11 days ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Jed Boal

Despite reaching 5,000 deaths, Utah’s COVID-19 numbers are down

The director of the World Health Organization said yesterday about COVID-19, “the end is in sight,” even if we are not there yet.
22 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

WHO: COVID end ‘in sight,’ deaths at lowest since March 2020

The head of the World Health Organization says the number of coronavirus deaths last week was the lowest reported number in the pandemic since March 2020, marking what could be a turning point in the years-long global outbreak.
22 days ago
A school classroom with chairs and desks...
Brooke Williams

Project to provide air purifiers in Utah K-12 classrooms

Cleaner air improves student performance, decreases COVID transmission and school absenteeism. New project provides air purifiers for classrooms in Utah.
23 days ago
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 08: People walk by a closed store at a neighborhood designated as a medium-r...
Laura He, CNN Business

Zero- COVID-19 at what price? Chinese researchers are treading on sensitive ground

Authorities in Shanghai have denied a report by a leading Chinese real estate research firm that claimed more than a third of shops in a major mall had been shuttered because of strict COVID-19 curbs.
25 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Fearing Coronavirus, Ariz. Man Dies After Taking Form Of Chloroquine Used To Treat Aquariums