HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT)- A hot topic of conversation, COVID 19 treatments. Some doctors have treated patients nationwide with a drug that’s sparked controversy. Eyewitness News talked to a Henderson doctor who is using a drug that is still being debated as an answer for COVID-19.

Throughout the course of coronavirus one thing has remained the same the uncertainty of how far this virus will expand and who it will affect. But now a local doctor is working to treat COVID patients despite that uncertainty.

“The treatment we’re using is Plaquenil or hydroxychloroquine. We use 100 mg twice a day in addition to that you have to have the zinc to go with it otherwise it doesn’t work,” Dr. James Buckmaster says.

It is a drug typically used to treat malaria and lupus.

“What it does is, we normally can’t put our zinc into the cells very well. So with Plaquenil, it acts as a conduit. Take zinc and it drives it into the cells,” Dr. Buckmaster explains.

Dr. James Buckmaster runs Corpus Christi Clinic near downtown Henderson. He says when the pandemic first started he felt helpless.

“I’ve been losing sleep and I haven’t done very well.”

But after doing some research and getting guidance from peers he decided to try this treatment on one of his patients who had COVID-19 like symptoms but was never tested.

“I had an 87-year-old gentleman that was in here for six weeks ago. Fever 103. He was better in 24 hours he was out mowing his yard the next day,” Dr. Buckmaster says.

While doctor Buckmaster has already started using the drug combination to treat patients, other doctors say they’re waiting on results from drug trials.

“Signs don’t count for us do you need a study to prove that people do better,” Dr. Christopher Belcher says. “As well as the huge variability we see with this disease. Many people have no symptoms. Many people have mild symptoms. So it’s hard to know just when people report that it works.”

Dr. Christopher Belcher with Ascension St. Vincent says although hydroxychloroquine is already on the market, there are some things that still need to be researched.

“We just need to study stuff and will you have half your group with it, half your group without it, perhaps when you look at how they differ.”

But in Dr. Buckmaster’s eyes he’s has a way to win the war against COVID-19.

Buckmaster and Belcher agree, there is a risk of side effects. But Buckmaster says he’s treated around 25 people and they don’t have any. He attributes that to the low dosage he’s prescribed. Buckmaster says he has treated some people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19.

Full interview with Dr. Buckmaster:

Full interview with Dr. Belcher:

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(This story was originally published on April 14, 2020)