Coronavirus patient says hydroxychloroquine saved his life
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. —
"There is a direct correlation between me taking it and me feeling better 10 hours later," Rio Giardinieri says.
Giardinieri, 52, says the reason he is still alive is because of the drug hydroxychloroquine, an old anti-malaria medicine.
"It started with the fever and headache, progressed to heavy sweating, and then I developed a very bad pain underneath my shoulder blade," Giardinieri said.
The south Florida businessman says he nearly passed out walking into Memorial Regional Hospital and was eventually diagnosed with coronavirus and pneumonia.
Doctors put him on oxygen in the intensive care unit but he says he was still unable to breathe. After more than a week in isolation with it getting harder to breathe, he said his goodbyes to his wife and three children.
"There's certain people in the world you can't check out of without saying goodbye to, and no matter who you are, you are never prepared," Giardinieri says.
Then a friend sent him a recent article about hydroxychloroquine.
At a news conference last week, President Trump said the Food and Drug Administration was fast-track testing it and a related drug, chloroquine, as treatment for COVID-19. It has already proven successful to treat coronavirus patients overseas, though it hasn't been approved by health officials.
After some back and forth with an infectious disease doctor, he was authorized to take the drug.
"Woke up at exactly 4:45 in the morning with no symptoms, pretty crazy, I woke up looked directly at the clock and it dawned on me, wait a second,I can breathe. I called my wife and my wife said, 'What is wrong with you?' and I said, 'What do you mean?' and she said, 'You sound normal. That was a sure sign that something had gone right," Giardinieri says.