Drug Interaction Concerns for COVID-19 Treatment

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In the recent times, the deadly COVID-19 disease has rolled out all over the world, thus, disturbing life of people and functioning of industries and businesses. This virus can infect adults, children, old people, and even infants. However, old age people and adults with fundamental medical condition are more likely to get infected, especially the one suffering from illness like cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, and other diseases. Older people with chronic diseases take more medication as compared to others to heal their disorders. Cancer patients are at high risk of infection due to long term utilization of chemotherapy treatments. All of this elevate COVID-19 as an important query— Is it safe to combine one or more new drug with an existing drug to treat the COVID-19 infection?

As per researchers, most of the commonly prescribed medications having anti-depressant, contraceptives, antibacterial, antifungal, sedative or neuroleptic, and therapeutic use may have powerful effect and sometimes can be threatening as well. Drug-drug interaction is a key step in predicting drug discovery and development process, giving rise to unpaid number of two or more drug with other drugs. Drug-drug interaction is mostly helpful in reducing the vitro experimental cost involved during the drug discovery and development process. Drug-drug interaction generally takes place when two or more drugs are combined together. The combination of two drugs can sometimes cause adverse effects or also can increase or decrease the therapeutic effect/use of the drug.

With the growing cases of COVID-19 all across the world, scientists are in a competition to develop vaccines and drugs to curb the spread of the disease and heal people affected with this disease. The biotechnological industry, pharmaceutical firms, and research groups such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. is deeply working on the discovery of vaccines or medicines to treat this deadly disease. Drugs that are under investigation are those which have been used in the treatment of malaria & autoimmune diseases; antiviral drugs that were developed for influenza; and antibodies from patients who have cured from COVID-19 disease.

Some Medicines for Possible Treatment of COVID-19:

Hydroxychloroquine

It is currently used as temporary drug to combat COVID-19 disease. In addition to antimalarial and immunomodulation, it is involved in SARS-CoV-2. Hydroxychloroquine drug interaction concern to prolong QT interval and might increase the risk of arrhythmia or other clinical results and hence, can be greatly used to treat COVID-19 patients.

Hydroxychloroquine, when combined with azithromycin leads to potential cardiac possibility and moderate risk of QT-prolonging drug. Another drug interaction of hydroxychloroquine may lower the blood glucose concentration in people who consume other blood glucose medications and the effect can be noticed in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients. Patients taking hydroxychloroquine should also be warned about the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Remdesivir

It is medication developed by biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Science, which is a broad-spectrum antiviral sold by brand name Velkury and is been used to treat the patients infected by COVID-19. Currently, this drug is under review as a potential drug to treat COVID-19 patients.

Chloroquine

It is similar to hydroxychloroquine having antimalarial effects, the only significant difference between these two drugs is that the data of QT prolonging effect in case of chloroquine is clearer, meaning there is less unstable information regarding the increase in the potential risks due to interaction of chloroquine and QT prolonging medications. Chloroquine also helps in lowering blood glucose effect like hydroxychloroquine.

Nitazoxanide

It is an antiprotozoal agent which helps in the treatment of cryptosporidium parvum, giardia lamblia, and protozoal diseases. Nitazoxanide has shown to be effective against several viruses, of both types DNA and RNA, which also includes other coronavirus that produces the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

Antiviral Drugs Seen as a Possible Treatment

Currently, antiviral drugs are seen as a possible option as they are known to combat or prevent viral infections. In the initial days, these drugs were used in monotherapy, but currently combinations of antivirals have been a common part of standard treatments. Many top scientists and researchers from different universities are testing whether any of the previously developed drugs that were discovered to treat other viral infections might also be effective to treat the COVID-19 infection. For instance, in May 2020, the US National Institute of Health (NIH) has begun a phase IIb clinical trial to evaluate whether hydroxychloroquine if administered jointly with the antibiotic azithromycin, can prevent death and hospitalization from COVID-19.Currently, there is no treatment or drug been published or other therapy provided by the U.S. FDA to prevent the COVID-19 infection. However, scientists believe that soon they will move closer for developing the treatment, until then we must remain careful in considering drug interaction as a possible option.

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