US President Donald Trump has revealed he has stopped taking the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine, telling US media that he has "finished, just finished".

The announcement comes as the World Health Organisation says will temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine from its global study into experimental Covid-19 treatments, saying that its experts need to review all available evidence to date.

In an interview with the Sinclair Broadcasting network, Trump said he stopped a course of treatment of the anti-malaria drug, adding "and by the way, I'm still here".

He defended his decision to take the medicine and speak about it publicly, despite the Food and Drug Administration warning Americans against using it.

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"Well, I've heard tremendous reports about it. Frankly, I've heard tremendous reports. Many people think it saved their lives. Doctors come out with reports. You had a study in France, you had a study in Italy that were incredible studies," Trump said.

Other studies found that the drug led to a greater risk of death and some found no benefit at all.

Before he told the world he was taking hydroxychloroquine, Trump had urged Americans to try it themselves, asking "what have you got to lose?".

In a press briefing on Monday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in light of a paper published last week in the Lancet that showed people taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death and heart problems, there would be "a temporary pause" on the hydroxychloroquine arm of its global clinical trial.

"This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in Covid-19," Tedros said, adding that the drugs are approved treatments for people with malaria or autoimmune diseases. Other treatments in the trial, including the experimental drug remdesivir and an HIV combination therapy, are still being tested.

Tedros said the executive group behind WHO's global "Solidarity" trial met on Saturday and decided to conduct a comprehensive review of all available data on hydroxychloroquine and that its use in the trial would be suspended for now.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website
- Additional reporting, Associated Press

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