Metro Weekly

Fox News guest advises viewers treat COVID-19 with drugs used for transgender health care

Media watchdog group claims FLCCC's proposed dosage levels exceed those typically prescribed for patients who are transitioning

Fox News, Covid, coronavirus, transgender, hormones
(L-R) Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Maria Bartiromo, and Dr. Pierre Kory during a Jan. 9 episode of Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo – Photo: Fox News

A Fox News guest has advised viewers to combat COVID-19 with drugs typically used to help transgender people transition instead of vaccines.

Dr. Pierre Kory, a frequent Fox News guest, appeared on the January 9 edition of Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo to encourage viewers to follow some of the treatments recommended by his group, Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, as an alternative to vaccinations.

Kory referred viewers to the group’s website, which recommends ivermectin — which the FDA warns against using to prevent or treat COVID-19 — as well as other claimed treatments such as gargling mouthwash, which Crest and Listerine do not recommend to treat COVID-19.

If those “first line agents” don’t work against COVID-19, FLCCC suggests taking spironolactone — which is typically used to treat high blood pressure or heart failure, as well as some extreme forms of acne — for 10 days, along with daily doses dutasteride or finasteride, both of which are often used to treat enlarged prostates.

Using spironolactone, dutasteride or finasteride at the levels levels suggested by FLCCC matches — and may actually exceed — the levels recommended to help transgender women transition, according to the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America.

So, in its efforts to promote anti-vaccine advocacy, Fox News has perhaps inadvertently recommended hormones that can assist in a gender transition (although trans women transitioning would likely also be taking estrogen in concert with spironolactone).

Twitter user “twinkbride pearl” noted the unusual nature of the FLCCC’s COVID-19 recommendations in a thread.

“Trans women will be intimately familiar with two of these medications: spironolactone and finasteride, both of which are used to suppress testosterone. These are levels comparable or even above what many trans women take,” she tweeted.

“[S]ome of the same people who think eating soy turns you into a girl are willingly taking t-blockers.”

Some other transgender Twitter users expressed outrage that anti-vaccine advocates could potentially be granted access the hormones off-label, while transgender people seeking to transition often encounter obstacles from the medical establishment and have to fight to access those same drugs.

Other Twitter users warned of potential side effects.

“Besides the anti-androgenic effects, spiro. can [decrease] blood pressure & [increase] blood potassium levels, particularly if the patient’s also taking certain drugs,” one user, who claims to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, tweeted.

“It’s horrifying that this document, which they’re just disseminating to anyone w/ an Internet connection, doesn’t warn about that.”

“That’s literally 8 [times] the amount of spiro I take a day and my testosterone is fully suppressed,” tweeted one transgender user.

“Half of that spiro dose put my T [testosterone] in cis female range, so good luck to them,” tweeted another.

While it’s not unusual for conservative outlets to promote anti-vaccine viewpoints — The Daily Beast recently reported on one anti-vaccine advocate who even recommended drinking one’s own urine to help ward off COVID-19 — the FLCCC’s recommendations for “second line agents” took many, especially those familiar with transgender health care by surprise.

While it is likely such alternative treatments will continue to be pushed by some outlets, this appears to be the first time drugs that assist in a gender transition have been recommended alongside popular off-label “cures” like ivermectin or anti-malarial drugs like hydroxychloroquine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 5 years and older protect themselves against COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated.

“COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death,” the CDC notes.

The CDC also recommends the wearing of masks in public indoor settings or areas of high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC also advises that those with emergency warning signs for COVID-19, including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, or pale or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds should seek emergency care immediately.

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