(QCOSTARICA) The Costa Rican Social Security Fund (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social – CCSS) suspended the use of hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19.
Through a press release, they Caja said that from today (Thursday) the temporary suspension of hydroxychloroquine.
Dr. Mario Ruiz Cubillo, medical manager of the CCSS confirmed the suspension of hydroxychloroquine and withdrawal of the administration of lopinavir-ritonavir are ordered as treatment for COVID-19 patients after the recommendation of the Central Committee of Pharmacotherapy (CCF).
The committee reviewed the evidence published until May 25, 2020, regarding the effectiveness of these 2 drugs at the international level in order to decide the relevance of maintaining treatment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ruiz was emphatic that it is a temporary measure while the CCSS endorses a research protocol on the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine.
He added that “every time new information on therapies for COVID-19 appears, the CCF analyzes it to assess whether the therapies that are implemented in the Institution are modified.”
According to the specialist, protocols are subject to constant change, especially in situations of health emergencies, in the Costa Rica context and in the face of this new disease and in light of the scientific evidence generated in the world.
For her part, Dr. Angélica Vargas Camacho, head of the Area of Medicines and Clinical Therapeutics, of the Pharmacoepidemiology Directorate, pointed out that the Central Committee of Pharmacotherapy supports the decision.
“In the best scientific evidence, which allows making reliable decisions on the Selection of drugs with proven efficacy and safety, under this principle, the use of hydroxychloroquine for patients infected with COVID-19 was supported.
“As explained, as a precautionary measure, based on the new update of the scientific information published to date and considering the position of the World Health Organization (WHO), as an international reference entity, the Committee recommended the temporary suspension of the treatment of hydroxychloroquine and withdrawal of lopinavir ritonavir for COVID-19.
“This measure is temporary while the institution endorses a research protocol by a scientific ethical committee, in response to the WHO recommendation of “use only in the framework of duly registered, approved and ethically accepted research studies,” explained Dr. Vargas.
Ruiz added that the CCSS is respectful of the WHO recommendations, however, he emphasized that the institution has the technical capacity to define “the pharmacological management strategy as to public health measures and always seeking the greatest benefit for our patients”.
Likewise, he mentioned that to date, no medicine has an official approved indication for the treatment of COVID-19, as recognized by the international body.
Dr. Vargas reiterated that hydroxychloroquine in the institutional context has been used for many years in various pathologies, including the treatment of malaria and also of chronic diseases with an immunological component, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, which is why has extensive clinical experience of use in these indications.
She also emphasized that no medication is innocuous, therefore, the prescribing physician must always make the clinical assessment of the patient prior to prescribing the medication, thinking of the greatest therapeutic benefit.
“All patients receive information about the benefit and possible adverse effects of the treatment and sign their consent under informed consent,” she said.
Likewise, the CCSS affirms that it guarantees the daily individualized follow-up of COVID-19 patients to monitor and control the clinical evolution and possible effects that they present with the use of the drug.