Though hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) availability has returned to normal, research shows many people with lupus continue to report anxiety about supply shortages. HCQ is an antimalarial drug commonly used in the treatment of lupus, and speculations about the drug’s impact on COVID-19 led to supply shortages early in the pandemic.
Researchers in Europe surveyed more than 2,000 people with lupus twice last year to understand how HCQ shortages were affecting them, first in April 2020 and again in August 2020. In the first wave, more than half of respondents (51.8%) reported having some difficulty obtaining the medicine, and 9.1% could not get it at all. At that time, more than one half of respondents (56.1%) reported high or extremely high anxiety about their HCQ access.
By August, all counties showed significant improvement in HCQ availability. However, many people with lupus remained very worried about their ability to access the treatment, with 27.4% of respondents saying they felt highly or extremely anxious.
The findings underscore the importance of taking quick action to correct drug supply shortages. In addition to potentially impacting individuals’ treatment regimens and physical health, supply disruptions can also cause lasting psychological effects. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that the HCQ shortage has resolved in the U.S., but it’s understandable why anxiety persists. Get answers to your questions about HCQ and COVID-19.
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