Reuse of drugs for COVID-19: advisable or not?




Covid-19; Chloroquine; Hydroxychloroquine; Ivermectin; Irrational use of medicines.


With the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for the search for medicines for the treatment and prevention of the disease arose. Consequently, some drugs were reused. Thus, the present study aimed to conduct a review of the drugs chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, highlighting the mechanisms of action, studies that prove- or not- their efficacy goes to SARS-CoV-2 and the main adverse effects related to irrational use, understanding whether the use of these drugs should be advised or not. The literature review was based on scientific articles indexed in the Pubmed databases and Portal of Capes Journals published in the last 3 years, using the descriptors "Use of medicines"; "COVID-19"; "Self-medication" and "Rational use of". From the analysis of 27 articles, it was found that many in vitro and clinical studies were conducted, however, they are controversial. Thus, the use of these drugs in an irrational way, as has been occurring, brings health risks. It is necessary to have more complex and serious clinical studies in case of a non-conflicting result being taken as a reference.

Author Biography

Fernanda Borges de Araújo Paula, Universidade Federal de Alfenas

Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas.

Programa de Educação Tutorial - PET Farmácia.


Alam, M. T., Murshed, R., Bhiuyan, E., Saber, S., Alam, R. F., & Robin, R. C. (2020). A case series of 100 COVID-19 positive patients treated with combination of ivermectin and doxycycline. Journal of Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons, 10-15.

Belayneh A. (2020). Off-Label Use of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 Treatment in Africa Against WHO Recommendation. Research and reports in tropical medicine, 11, 61–72.

Caly, L., Druce, J. D., Catton, M. G., Jans, D. A., & Wagstaff, K. M. (2020). The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Antiviral research, 178, 104787.

Dragojevic Simic, V., Miljkovic, M., Stamenkovic, D., Vekic, B., Ratkovic, N., Simic, R., & Rancic, N. (2021). An overview of antiviral strategies for coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection with special reference to antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. International journal of clinical practice, 75(3), e13825.

Fróes, A.C., Pasquinelli, F., Quintela, M.M., Pimentel, A.C. & Roman-Torres, C.V.G. (2020). The role of interleukin-1beta in the pathophysiology of periodontal disease: a literature review. Research, Society and Development, 9(7),1-14, e674974773.

Gautret, P., Lagier, J. C., Parola, P., Meddeb, L., Mailhe, M., Doudier, B., ... & Raoult, D. (2020). Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial. International journal of antimicrobial agents, 56(1), 105949.

González-Paz, L. A., Lossada, C. A., Moncayo, L. S., Romero, F., Vera-Villalobos, J., Pérez, A. E., & Alvarado, Y.J. (2021). A Bioinformatics Study of Structural Perturbation of 3CL-Protease and the HR2-Domain of SARS-CoV-2 Induced by Synergistic Interaction with Ivermectins. Biointerface Research in Applied Chemistry, 11(2), 9813 - 9826.

He, F., Deng, Y., Li, W. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019: What we know? Journal of Medical Virology, 92, 719-725.

Hussain, I., Hussain, A., Alajmi, M. F., Rehman, M. T., & Amir, S. (2021). Impact of repurposed drugs on the symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Journal of infection and public health, 14(1), 24–38.

Kaur, K., Kaushal., S., & Kaushal, I. (2020). Therapeutic status of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19: A review. Journal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology, 36, 160.

Kaur, H., Shekhar, N., Sharma, S., Sarma, P., Prakash, A. & Medhi, B. (2021). Ivermectin as a potential drug for treatment of COVID-19: an in-sync review with clinical and computational attributes. Pharmacol Rep, 73(3),736-749.

Kern C., Schöning V., Chaccour C.& Hammann F. (2021) Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 Treatment Effects for Informed Drug Repurposing. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 12.

Klimke, A., Hefner, G., Will, B., & Voss, U. (2020). Hydroxychloroquine as an aerosol might markedly reduce and even prevent severe clinical symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Medical hypotheses, 142, 109783.

Lucchetta, R. C., & de Carvalho Mastroianni, P. (2019). Rational use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in times of COVID-19. Revista de Ciências Farmacêuticas Básica e Aplicada, 40, 1-5.

Maisonnasse, P., Guedj, J., Contreras, V., Behillil, S., Solas, C., Marlin, R., ... & Le Grand, R. (2020). Hydroxychloroquine use against SARS-CoV-2 infection in non-human primates. Nature, 585(7826), 584-587.

Mallhi, T. H., Ahmad, A., Butt, M. H., Misbah, S., Khan, Y. H., & Alotaibi, N. H. (2020). Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19: practice implications for healthcare professionals. Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan: JCPSP, 30(10), 124-128.

Mohan, P., Sinha, S., Uppal, R. (2020). Role of ivermectin in COVID-19: Wishful thinking or scientific optimism. J Mar Med Soc, 22 (3), 27-31. / jmms.jmms_146_20

Molina, J. M., Delaugerre, C., Le Goff, J., Mela-Lima, B., Ponscarme, D., Goldwirt, L., & de Castro, N. (2020). No evidence of rapid antiviral clearance or clinical benefit with the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in patients with severe COVID-19 infection. Medecine et maladies infectieuses, 50(4), 384.

Momekov, G.& Momekova, D. (2020). Ivermectin as a potential COVID-19 treatment from the pharmacokinetic point of view: antiviral levels are not likely attainable with known dosing regimens. Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment, 34 (1), 469-474.

Nina, P. B., & Dash, A. P. (2020). Hydroxychloroquine as prophylaxis or treatment for COVID-19: What does the evidence say?. Indian journal of public health, 64, S125–S127.

Paumgartten, F. J. R., & Oliveira, A. C. A. X. D. (2020). Off label, compassionate and irrational use of medicines in Covid-19 pandemic, health consequences and ethical issues. Ciencia & saude coletiva, 25, 3413-3419.

Pereira B. B. (2020). Challenges and cares to promote rational use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the management of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: a timely review. Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part B, Critical reviews, 23(4), 177–181.

Rajter, J.C., Sherman, M.S., Fatteh, N., Vogel, F., Sacks, J., & Rajter, J.J. (2020). Use of Ivermectin Is Associated With Lower Mortality in Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019. Chest, 159(1), 85–92.

Singh, A. & Gupta, V. (2021). SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics: how far do we stand from a remedy? Pharmacol Rep, 73 (3), 750-768.

Schmith, V. D., Zhou, J., & Lohmer, L. R. (2020). The approved dose of ivermectin alone is not the ideal dose for the treatment of COVID‐19. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 108(4), 762-765.

Tang, W., Cao, Z., Han, M., Wang, Z., Chen, J., & Sun, W. (2020). Hydroxychloroquine in patients mainly with mild to moderate COVID-19: an open-label, randomized, controlled trial. medRxiv, 10.

Willis, V. C., Arriaga, Y., Weeraratne, D., Reyes, F., & Jackson, G. P. (2020). A Narrative Review of Emerging Therapeutics for COVID-19. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Innovations, quality & outcomes, 4(6), 745–758.

Zou, L., Dai, L., Zhang, X., Zhang, Z., & Zhang, Z. (2020). Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine: a potential and controversial treatment for COVID-19. Archives of pharmacal research, 43(8), 765–772.



How to Cite

BARBOSA, A. M. da C.; DIAS, A. M.; LAMBERT, G. C.; FREIRE, J. O.; MARQUES, J. C.; SANTANA, K. de O.; SILVÉRIO, K. da S. .; MARCACINI, L. V.; LIMA, M. E. T. .; PINTO, P. A. Q.; SILVA, S. N. L.; COSTA, T. S. da; VITORINO, U. B.; CRUZ, Y. V. C.; PAULA, F. B. de A. Reuse of drugs for COVID-19: advisable or not?. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 10, n. 17, p. e197101724278, 2021. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v10i17.24278. Disponível em: Acesso em: 25 jan. 2022.



Health Sciences