Do not take any unproven medicine in an attempt to fight COVID-19.

This serious warning is coming from the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, and the B.C. College of Nursing Professionals.

The group says it’s seeing more and more online and social media conversations promoting medicines that are used to fight things like malaria and HIV/AIDS to treat COVID-19. These unproven treatment claims may include but are not limited to hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, azithromycin, lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) and colchicine.

In fact, the colleges say, that no proven COVID-19 treatment yet exists.

“It is important to understand that there are potential harms to the patient, risks to our understanding of what is truly a beneficial treatment or not, and depleting access to therapies known to be helpful or essential in other disease states. For these reasons, the use of unproven therapies for COVID 19 is not recommended outside clinical trials.”

Those potential harms can even be fatal. For example, a man in Phoenix, Arizona died this week after taking chloroquine phosphate.  However, he took a form of the chemical used to clean aquariums and not treat disease. He mistakenly believed it would keep him safe from COVID-19.

The group of colleges says “health professionals all have a responsibility to their patients and to their profession to focus only on evidence-based care and not yield to well-intentioned patient pressure around unproven and potentially dangerous uses of existing medications.

“Doing so could present significant health risks to those patients as well as other unintended consequences such as critical shortages of these existing medications for patients who need them to treat other conditions.”