Lana and Steve Ervin of Tulsa — who lost 2-year-old Ashley after she accidentally ingested what they believe was a single chloroquine pill 37 years ago — told The Oklahoman that the public should be aware of the drug’s potentially lethal side effects.
“We’ve got to let people know this is dangerous,” Lana told the outlet Thursday. “When I first heard them say it, I thought I needed to let people know.”
Back in 1983, Ashley somehow found her way to the anti-malaria drug, which was tucked away in a bathroom drawer, the paper reported at the time.
Steve had used the medication to ward off malaria on missions trips to foreign countries.
Lana told the outlet she’s not trying to discourage people from taking the medication if researchers prove it can combat the novel coronavirus.
“Hopefully it really serves the COVID-19 purpose,” she told the paper. “But parents, grandparents, everybody needs to know. Man, it is dangerous.”
“We wish we had been warned at the time how dangerous the drug was,” she added. “I believe it needs to come with a strong warning when it is given for COVID-19 because I’m sure that the people who would get it are people who are probably processing at home, getting well at home, not so much in the hospital … If they’re home, they might have a child there who could get their hands on it.”
Scott Schaeffer, managing director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, told the outlet that the related drug, hydroxychloroquine — also under review as a potential COVID-19 treatment — tends to be tolerated better than chloroquine, but caution should be taken with both.
“Chloroquine, one or two tablets in a toddler, I would have real concerns about,” he said. “Hydroxychloroquine is not quite as bad, but it’s still one that absolute caution would need to be taken to keep it out of reach of children — child-resistant containers — the whole nine yards, because it can have very similar effects to chloroquine.”