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I was reluctant to write this post given the media storm that tainted this drug during the early days of the COVID pandemic, but the science here is intriguing.
Recently, researchers conducted a nationwide case-controlled study of 22,189 Finnish people diagnosed with Parkinson’s between 1996 to 2015.
When they analysed their large dataset, they found an association between hydroxychloroquine and a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s.
In today’s post, we will review this new research and discuss what could explain this curious finding.
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Dr Didier Raoult. Source: Letelegramme
On March 16, 2020, a video discussing a small study investigating the use of a drug called hydroxychloroquine in patients with SARS-CoV-2 was posted on YouTube (and a few days later a report on the study was made available).
It was an open-label, non-randomized study involving just 36 hospitalized patients with documented SARS-CoV-2 infections. It was a methodologically flawed study and making the results public without any kind of peer-review step was unethical, but this did not stop these results causing a media storm. And news of a potential first weapon in the fight against the new viral pandemic quickly spread, causing shortages in supplies of the drug for individuals with inflammatory conditions who actually needed it.
Eventually, a number of much larger and better designed clinical trials demonstrated that the drug did not represent a sensible treatment against COVID (Click here to read more about this).
But sadly, a previously very useful treatment became somewhat tainted. And it has since been the subject of many jokes, cartoons and memes:
Despite its 15 minutes of ignominy though, hydroxychloroquine is still a very useful drug and it may still hold one or two surprises.
Great. But what does this have to do with Parkinson’s?