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Trump says he's been taking hydroxychloraquine drug he touted for COVID-19

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Posted at 2:04 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 18:45:43-04

President Donald Trump on Monday revealed to reporters he's been taking hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug he's touted as a possible "game changer" treatment for COVID-19.

He said he asked the White House doctor if he could take it despite having no symptoms, adding he's been taking a pill a day for about a week-and-a-half.

"I'm still fine," he said, referring to possible dangerous side effects.

The FDA last month specifically warned against taking hydroxychloroquine “outside of a hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.”

"I asked him, 'What do you think? he said, referring to his conversation with the White House physician. "'Well if you'd like it.'" I said, 'Yeah I'd like it. I'd like to take it. A lot of people to take it a lot of frontline workers are taking hydroxychloroquine," Trump claimed. "So, I'm taking the to the zinc and the hydroxy. And all I can tell you is, so far I seem to be okay."

The president said he's received "a lot of positive letters" offering good feedback of hydroxychloroquine and insisted even if it's not effective, it's not, he claimed: "You're not going to get sick or die."

"And it seems to have an impact -- and maybe it does, maybe it doesn't -- but if it doesn't, you're not going to get sick or die. This is a, a pill that's been used for a long time for 30, 40 years on the malaria and or lupus to, and even on arthritis I guess from what I understand, so it's been heavily tested in terms of," Trump said.

“What do you have to lose,” Trump said.

When surprised reporters asked if he were taking it because he’s exhibited symptoms, the president replied, "Zero symptoms."

The president told them that he was "just waiting to see your eyes light up when I said this," adding he had taken it for about a week and a half -- "and I'm still here. I'm still here to explain to you."

"At some point I'll stop. What I'd like to do is I'd like to have the cure and/or the vaccine and that'll happen, I think first," he added.

The FDA has warned of serious side effects of the drug currently unapproved to treat COVID-19, though touted by the White House.

ABC News' Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.