Use of Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine, Mefloquine, Quinine, and Related Quinoline Drugs Risks Sudden and Lasting Neuropsychiatric Effects from Idiosyncratic Neurotoxicity
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT. (PRWEB) MARCH 20, 2020
The Quinism Foundation has warned of a risk of sudden and lasting neuropsychiatric effects from the use of antimalarial quinolines against COVID‑19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and has urged policy makers, physicians, and members of the public to be alert to such effects.
“The same endosomotropic properties that likely underlie the effectiveness of quinoline antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against the virus may also underlie their dangers, ” said Dr. Remington Nevin, MD, MPH, DrPH, a Johns-Hopkins trained psychiatric epidemiologist and drug safety expert and former U.S. Army public health physician, who now serves as Executive Director of The Quinism Foundation. “These are not safe drugs.”
“In susceptible individuals, these drugs act as idiosyncratic neurotoxicants, potentially causing irreversible brain and brainstem dysfunction, even when used at relatively low doses,” said Dr. Nevin. “This drug-induced dysfunction causes a disease of the brain and brainstem called quinoline encephalopathy, or quinism, which can be marked acutely by psychosis, confusion, and risk of suicide, and by lasting psychiatric and neurological symptoms.”
“Symptoms of chronic quinoline encephalopathy include tinnitus, dizziness, vertigo, paresthesias, visual disturbances, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, agoraphobia, paranoia, cognitive dysfunction, depression, personality change, and suicidal thoughts, among others, ” said Dr. Nevin. “Particularly among military veterans, in whom these drugs have been widely used for decades as prophylactic antimalarials, these symptoms can mimic and be mistaken for those of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.”
Dr. Nevin noted a recent report by an ad-hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identified a critical need for additional research on the long-term effects of antimalarial quinolines. Dr. Nevin also emphasized that the Quinism Foundation has recently called on Congress to fund research into chronic quinoline encephalopathy .