Local pharmacist explains difference between chemicals after couple in Arizona drink fish tank chemical

JOPLIN, Mo. – Monday, the president announced 10,000 units of a drug called Hyroxychloroquine was being distributed in New York City today. However, a misinterpretation on what that drug is left a man dead in Arizona and his wife in critical condition.

Hydroxy-chloroquine is a prescription drug used to treat malaria. It is also being evaluated as a possible treatment for the Coronavirus. However, chloroquine-phosphate, which is found in certain aquarium treatment solutions, had tragic consequences for an Arizona couple.

The couple heard the word ‘chloroquine’ and recognized it from their fish tank cleaner, thinking it was the same thing as hyroxychlorquine. The couple poured some of the fish tank cleaner into their soda thinking it would help prevent them from getting COVID-19. However, the chloroquine phospate, along with the other chemicals in the fish tank cleaner that led to the husband’s death and left his wife in critical care.

Local pharmacist Chad Isaacs says while hydroxy-choloroquine is promising at the federal level, everyone else needs to be patient. “Right now you’ve got to realize information is changing almost daily, so it’s one of those things that, these decisions, they’re risk versus benefit and they need to be made by medical professionals.”

Isaacs says because things are changing so rapidly, you don’t want to self medicate or try something you hear on TV that hasn’t been proven yet. “None of these may be the best option and the other point that I think is key is that a very small percentage of people really need to be treated in some of these cases, a lot of people will not need these medications at all and so it’s important that the doctor makes that decision of who should be treated and who shouldn’t.”

Isaacs says if you see or hear something about a possible treatment, call your doctor. “It’s hugely important that people reach out to a doctor to be seen to have proper medical care, to make decisions, to take chemicals in your body on your own is really unwise, I mean, people need to be very careful with taking things into their own hands, it’s highly unsafe.”

Isaacs says the most important thing to remember is information is changing frequently in this situation, and you should wait until you hear solid information from health care professionals before trying anything yourself.