Man Dies After Taking Substance He Thought Trump Mentioned

His wife is in critical condition after taking chloroquine phosphate
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2020 5:07 AM CDT
Man Dies After Self-Medicating With Drug Trump Praised
"There are no FDA-approved therapeutics or drugs to treat, cure, or prevent COVID-19," the FDA says   (Getty Images/Bartek Szewczyk)

An Arizona man is dead and his wife is in critical condition after self-medicating with a substance containing chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug mentioned days prior by President Trump. Hospital authorities say the couple, both in their 60s, didn't take that medication but instead ingested chloroquine phosphate, which is used to clean aquariums, the Arizona Republic reports. They both became extremely ill within 20 minutes. The woman tells NBC that she heard Trump mention chloroquine during a press briefing and remembered she had bought some to treat her koi fish. "I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, 'Hey, isn't that the stuff they're talking about on TV?" The woman says she and her husband decided to mix the substance with water and drink it to prevent the coronavirus.

The woman says she soon started vomiting and her husband had trouble breathing. He died soon after they were hospitalized. In a March 19 press conference, Trump described chloroquine as a "game changer" and said it had been "approved" by the FDA, though the agency said it had not been approved for treating COVID-19, the BBC reports. Dr. Daniel Brooks of Banner Health tells the Republic that the couple apparently had not been infected with the coronavirus. He says drugs like chloroquine can have severe side effects and people should not attempt to self-medicate with drugs or household products. (Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the substance the couple ingested.)

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