Weekly Current Affairs: April week-2 - Hydroxychloroquine now a schedule H1 drug

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    9th Apr, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine is now a schedule H1 drug, and can be sold on prescription only. The drug has been deemed ‘essential’ to meet emergency requirements due to COVID-19.

Context

Hydroxychloroquine is now a schedule H1 drug, and can be sold on prescription only. The drug has been deemed ‘essential’ to meet emergency requirements due to COVID-19.

About

  • Hydroxychloroquine is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). It regulates the activity of the immune system, which may be overactive in some conditions.
  • The drug is used to treat malaria, lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Hydroxychloroquine can modify the underlying disease process, rather than simply treating the symptoms.
  • Hydroxychloroquine and a related drug, chloroquine, are currently under studyas possible treatments for COVID-19.

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs):

  • DMARDs act by altering the underlying disease rather than treating symptoms.
  • They're not painkillers, but they'll reduce pain, swelling and stiffness over a period of weeks or months by slowing down the disease and its effects on the joints.
  • There are two types:
    • conventional DMARDs
    • biological therapies

The notification:

  • The sale of the drug from now on should be in accordance with the conditions for sale of drugs specified in Schedule H1 to the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
  • The Central Government is satisfied that the drug ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ is essential to meet the requirements of emergency arising due to pandemic COVID-19.
  • In the public interest, it is necessary and expedient to regulate and restrict the sale and distribution of the drug ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ and preparation based thereon for preventing their misuse.  

What are Schedule H1 medicines?

  • Schedule H1 medicines are those medicines which contain a very high alcoholic influence.
  • The retailer needs to keep one prescription copy as the report needs to be submitted to the Drug Department.

How does it work?

  • Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug. It treats malaria by killing the parasites that cause the disease.
  • It isn’t fully understood how this drug works to treat lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis. However, it’s believed that this drug affects how your immune system works, which may be a benefit in lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Why does it need regulation?

  • Child danger warning:Accidentally swallowing just a few tablets has been fatal in some children. Keep this drug in a child-resistant bottle out of reach of children.
  • Worsened skin conditions warning:Tell your doctor if you have skin conditions, such as psoriasis or porphyria. This medication may make these conditions worse.
  • Eye damage:It can damage your eyes, leading to vision problems that can be permanent. This damage is more likely when the drug is used in high doses.
  • Heart damage:It can also cause heart disease. Although uncommon, some cases have been fatal.

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