A man from Arizona has died from ingesting chloroquine phosphate in an attempt to prevent himself from getting the coronavirus.
The man’s wife also took the substance and is now in critical care, Today reported.
The couple mistakenly took the toxic ingredient under the impression that they were consuming the medication form of chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria. However, what they ingested was an ingredient used in a parasite treatment for fish.
The man’s wife said she watched press conferences during which President Trump talked about the potential benefits of chloroquine, which some early research suggests may be useful as a therapy for COVID-19. Doctors have yet to approve a drug to prevent or treat the virus.
The wife wants to remain anonymous and remembered that she used chloroquine to treat her koi fish. “I saw it sitting back on the shelf and thought, 'Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?'”
The wife and her late husband are both in their 60s and are at a higher risk for complications of COVID-19. They both decided to mix a small amount of the substance and drink it.
“We’re afraid of getting sick,” she said. In an instant, the couple became very ill and felt “dizzy and hot.”
“I started vomiting,” the woman said. “My husband started developing respiratory problems and wanted to hold my hand.”
When arriving at the hospital, her husband passed away.
Banner Health, a company in Arizona, said the couple took the additive called chloroquine phosphate.
Dr. Daniel Brooks, medical director of Banner, said people should not be self-medicating themselves.
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control urged people that chloroquine “will cause harm and can lead to death” on Friday. So far, the country has reported two such deaths from the ingestion of the chemical.