Watch: Trump defends use of hydroxychloroquine

Trump says hydroxychloroquine provides "an additional level of safety".

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his decision to take hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with senators, Trump said the decision to take the drug is an individual decision but that he believes it provides "an additional level of safety" despite warnings it can cause heart problems.

"I think it gives you an additional level of safety. But you can ask many doctors who are in favor of it. Many front-line workers won’t go there unless they have the hydroxy," he said, according to The Hill.

"This is an individual decision to make. But it’s had a great reputation and if it was somebody else other than me people would say, 'Gee isn’t that smart,'" added Trump.

The comments come a day after Trump revealed to reporters he had started taking the antimalarial drug which he has championed as a potential treatment for the coronavirus.

Trump had made clear he consulted with the White House doctor about taking the drug. A letter from the White House physician released later Monday confirmed he and Trump concluded "the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks."

The letter did not include any information about the dosage or explicitly state that Trump had been prescribed the drug.

The FDA issued a warning last month that hydroxychloroquine should not be taken outside of a hospital or clinical trial because of the risk of severe heart problems.

The White House clarified earlier on Tuesday that Americans need a prescription to take hydroxychloroquine, and Trump told reporters that "people are going to have to make up their own mind" about the drug.

Fox News' Neil Cavuto was stunned by Trump's announcement on Monday and said, "If you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment ... it will kill you. I cannot stress enough. This will kill you."