- What is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), and what is it used for?
- What are the side effects of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
- What is the dosage for hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
- Is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
What is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), and what is it used for?
- Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and its sister drug chloroquine (Aralen) are under investigation for treatment of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease
- Korean doctors used these anti-malaria drugs to treat COVID-19 with some success, according to a paper filed with Elsevier in March 2020, but effectiveness is unproven.
Hydroxychloroquine is classified as an anti-malarial drug. It is similar to chloroquine (Aralen) and is useful in treating several forms of malaria as well as lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Its mechanism of action is unknown. Malarial parasites invade human red blood cells. Hydroxychloroquine may prevent malarial parasites from breaking down (metabolizing) hemoglobin in human red blood cells. Hydroxychloroquine is effective against the malarial parasites Plasmodium vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale, and susceptible strains of P. falciparum. Hydroxychloroquine prevents inflammation caused by lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. The FDA approved hydroxychloroquine in April, 1955.
What brand names are available for hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
Is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
What are the side effects of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
Side effects include
- hair lightening or loss,
- stomach upset,
- muscle pain,
- rash and
Rare but potentially serious eye toxicity can occur. This toxicity affects a part of the eye called the retina and can lead to color blindness and even loss of vision. An ophthalmologist (eye specialist) often can detect changes in the retina that suggest toxicity before serious damage occurs. Therefore, regular eye examinations, even when there are no symptoms, are mandatory.
Patients who are genetically deficient in a certain enzyme, called G6PD, can develop a severe anemia resulting from the rupture of red blood cells. This enzyme deficiency is more common in persons of African descent and can be evaluated by blood testing. Hydroxychloroquine may worsen psoriasis.
What is the dosage for hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
The usual adult dose for treating malaria is 800 mg initially, followed by 400 mg 6-8 hours later and then 400 mg at 24 hours and 48 hours. The dose for malaria prevention is 400 mg every week starting 1 or 2 weeks before exposure and for 4 weeks after leaving the high risk area.
The recommended adult dose for rheumatoid arthritis is 400-600 mg daily for 4-12 weeks followed by 200-400 mg daily.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is treated with 400 mg once or twice daily for several weeks then 200-400 mg daily. Hydroxychloroquine should be taken with food or milk in order to reduce stomach upset.
Which drugs or supplements interact with hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
- Administration of hydroxychloroquine with penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen) may increase penicillamine levels, increasing the risk of penicillamine side effects. The mechanism is unknown.
- Combining telbivudine (Tyzeka) and hydroxychloroquine may increase the risk of unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness because both drugs cause such side effects.
- Hydroxychloroquine suppresses the immune system and should not be combined with drugs that also suppress the immune system or live vaccines.
Is hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Hydroxychloroquine should only be used in pregnant women for malaria prophylaxis or treatment.
Hydroxychloroquine may be secreted in breast milk and may cause side effects in the infant.
What else should I know about hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)?
What preparations of hydroxychloroquine are available?
Tablet: 200 mg.
How should I keep hydroxychloroquine stored?
Hydroxychloroquine should be stored at room temperature up to 30 C (86 F) in a sealed, light resistant container.
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Daily Health News
Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is a drug that is classified as an anti-malarial drug. Plaquenil is prescribed for the treatment or prevention of malaria. It is also prescribed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and the side effects of lupus such as hair loss, joint pain, and more. Some experts think hydroxychloroquine might be effective against COVID-19 coronavirus, but this is unproven.
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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. The 16 characteristic early RA signs and symptoms include the following. Anemia Both sides of the body affected (symmetric) Depression Fatigue Fever Joint deformity Joint pain Joint redness Joint stiffness Joint swelling Joint tenderness Joint warmth Limping Loss of joint function Loss of joint range of motion Many joints affected (polyarthritis)
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Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease involving the abnormal production of extra antibodies that attack the glands and connective tissue. Sjögren's syndrome with gland inflammation (resulting dry eyes and mouth, etc.) that is not associated with another connective tissue disease is referred to as primary Sjögren's syndrome. Sjögren's syndrome that is also associated with a connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma, is referred to as secondary Sjögren's syndrome. Though there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, the symptoms may be treated by using lubricating eye ointments, drinking plenty of water, humidifying the air, and using glycerin swabs. Medications are also available to treat dry eye and dry mouth.
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Sarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body tissues and can appear in almost any body organ. However, sarcoidosis most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
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