The drug, known as chloroquine phosphate or chloroquine, has been bandied about by President Donald Trump during White House briefings on the coronavirus pandemic as a potential "game changer" in the treatment of COVID-19. It is also an additive that is commonly used in aquariums to clean fish tanks.
That came after the unidentified woman and her husband, both in their 60s, ingested chloroquine phosphate, confusing it with hydroxychloroquine, an antimalaria drug that's shown promising results in treating COVID-19 patients.
"I had (the substance) in the house because I used to have koi fish", she told the network.More news: Fed govt apologises for Centrelink queues
So, the couple mixed a small amount of the parasite remover with a liquid before drinking the solution. NBC quoted the unnamed woman as saying. However, within minutes they both started feeling ill and called 911. "My husband started developing respiratory problems and wanted to hold my hand".
As Slate noted, Trump tweeted on Saturday that he believes hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic analogue of the drug, should "be put in use IMMEDIATELY", and on Tuesday linked to an article citing a man who believes hydroxychloroquine helped him beat the coronavirus. And because of the encouraging research on the drugs, Trump said, "we're going to be able to make that drug [chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine] available nearly immediately".
In Nigeria, three more people have overdosed on chloroquine after hearing Trump's comments, officials in the city of Lagos said.More news: Tonight On American Idol 2020: Hollywood Week Wraps Up
Right after that press briefing, the FDA issued a statement clarifying that although the drugs are under investigation for treating COVID-19, they should not be used for that objective until they've been thoroughly tested in clinical trials. "They've gone through the approval process - it's been approved", he said, reports BBC News.
"Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so", Dr. Daniel Brooks, the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director said in the release.
"I... have said I'm not disagreeing with the fact anecdotally they might work, but my job is to prove definitively from a scientific standpoint that they do work", he said.
On Sunday, Dr Anthony Fauci - the nation's top infectious disease expert - said on CBS News that the president had heard about the two drugs from anecdotal reports.More news: Texas Lt. Gov. wants to get 'back to work'
"We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients", said Dr. Brooks. "This will cause harm and can lead to death".