Mar 23, 2020 - Health

Man dies after self-medicating with chloroquine phosphate

A worker inspects chloroquine tablets. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

"A man has died and his wife is under critical care after the couple, both in their 60s, ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks," which is also part of one of the antimalaria drugs that President Trump has mentioned in recent days, according to Banner Health, the hospital system that treated both patients.

Why it matters: People who attempt to self-medicate risk serious side effects or death, and it's why any messaging about chloroquine and the related hydroxychloroquine should emphasize that these drugs have not been approved to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.

Worth noting: The malaria drug comes in tablet form, but the type the couple used was a toxic substance — not medication.

  • The man's wife told NBC News: "I had it in the house because I used to have koi fish."

Go deeper: Trump touts drugs not yet approved by FDA for treating coronavirus

Editor's note: The story and headline have been corrected to reflect the fact that the form of chloroquine the couple ingested was used in aquariums (not the medication).

Go deeper

WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.

Rising home sales show Americans are looking past the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are behaving very differently than they have in previous recessions — convinced that the coronavirus pandemic will soon pass, many continue to spend money as if nothing has changed.

Driving the news: The latest example of this trend is the Commerce Department's new home sales report, which showed home sales increased in April despite nationwide lockdowns that banned real estate agents in some states from even showing listed houses.

"Close them down": Trump threatens action against social media platforms

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump threatened to shut down or regulate social media platforms due to anti-conservative bias in a pair of Wednesday tweets — the day after Twitter's first fact-check against the president's claims on its platform.

Reality check: While his claim that social media companies target conservatives isn't new, an Axios analysis last year found that stories about the 2020 presidential election that drove the most engagement online often came from right-wing media outlets.