MANILA - Several Filipinos who used hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 have been experiencing several hearing complications, an expert said Friday, as she warned the public against self-medicating to combat the virus.
Hydroxychloroquine is a drug used to prevent or treat malaria.
"I've seen recently some cases na umuugong talaga ang tenga and these are really severe. Hindi makatulog, hindi maka-concentrate," said Dr. Charlotte Chiong, dean of the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila.
(I've seen recently some cases wherein they developed buzzing in the ear and these are really severe. They can neither sleep nor concentrate.)
"Kapag ugong ng tenga ang problema, mahirap 'yan sagutin kung gagaling pa sila," she said in an online forum.
(When it comes to buzzing in the ear, it's hard to tell if that can still be cured.)
Patients who simultaneously used hydroxychloroquine with erythromycin experience "added effect because both are autotoxins," she said, without elaborating what other complications were developed.
Chiong said pharmacies should be stricter when selling hydroxychloroquine and other prescription medicine.
"Minsan sasabihin ng pasyente na naiwan ko yung reseta sa bahay," she said.
(Sometimes, the patient says they left the prescription at home.)
"That's a problem because sometimes, some pharmacies are not very strict," she said.
Last year, the Philippines stopped using hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus patients after the World Health Organization said that the drug may put patients at risk of dying.