U.S. air-safety regulators have emphasized the potentially serious side effects from two medications touted by President Trump as potential treatments for the novel coronavirus.
Pilots generally are barred from taking chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine within 48 hours of a flight. The prohibition against using the pills to ward off Covid-19 was reiterated in recent Federal Aviation Administration guidance and, according to an agency statement Tuesday, both drugs “have long been considered generally incompatible for those performing safety related aviation duties.”
The statement said as with all drugs, the agency takes a conservative approach “when evaluating how a particular substance interacts with aviation professionals” doing their jobs.
Experts have said heart problems and other potentially serious medical conditions can result, or be exacerbated by, taking the medications, historically used to treat malaria, arthritis, lupus and other illnesses. Mr. Trump has presented the drugs as potentially the most effective way to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus.
In its latest guidance to pilots the FAA said there is “no satisfactory scientific evidence that use of these medications decreases the severity of the virus.” U.S. health officials are conducting tests to determine their safety and efficacy.