New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued revised guidelines for use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the malaria drug, as a preventive medication for asymptomatic healthcare workers in non-Covid-19 hospitals, frontline staff on surveillance duty in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in coronavirus infection related activities.
“The Joint Monitoring Group and the NTF have recommended prophylactic use of HCQ in asymptomatic frontline workers, such as surveillance workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in Covid-19 related activities, asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases and all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of Covid-19 and working in non-Covid hospitals/non-Covid areas of Covid hospitals/blocks,” the ICMR said, here on Saturday.
The ICMR revised the guidelines to expand use of this anti-malarial drug as a preventive treatment against coronavirus.
Stating that HCQ is relatively safe, when certain contra-indications are avoided, the ICMR said it had some beneficial effect as a prophylactic option. However, the drug should be given under strict medical supervision with an informed consent and only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner, it said.
The ICMR said electrocardiogram (ECG) shall be done before prescribing HCQ prophylaxis and in case any new cardiovascular symptom it would be mandatory, the advisory said.
The drug should not be recommended for prophylaxis in children under 15 years of age and in pregnancy and lactation, it said.