For seniors: This drug is processed by your kidneys. Older adults with reduced kidney function may not be able to process this drug well, which can increase the risk of side effects, including vision damage. Older adults may require more frequent eye exams while taking this drug to monitor for signs of vision damage.
For children: This drug can be dangerous to children.
Accidentally swallowing even just a few tablets can lead to death in a small child. Keep this drug in a child-resistant bottle out of reach of children. Children taking this medication for a long period of time may experience permanent damage to their vision and other side effects. All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:.
However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
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Hydroxychloroquine oral tablet is used for short-term treatment of malaria, but it may be used for long-term treatment of lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis. For malaria prevention: Start this medication 1 to 2 weeks before traveling to a country where malaria is present. Taking your medication as directed by your doctor will give you the best chance of not getting malaria.
This will give you the best chance of treating lupus and avoiding problems with your skin, joints, and other organs. It will also improve your quality of life.
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This will help reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness in your joints and improve your quality of life. What to do if you miss a dose: If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you can. You risk more serious side effects. How to tell if the drug is working: For rheumatoid arthritis, you should have reduced joint inflammation, and you should be able to move better within 6 months of starting the medication.
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For lupus erythematosus, you should have less joint swelling, less pain, fewer lupus-related rashes, and a better ability to move around. A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription. The tests they may do include:. Beyond the cost of this drug, you may need to pay for additional eye exams and blood tests.
The cost of these things will depend on your insurance coverage. Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription. There are other drugs available to treat your condition.
Treating Lupus with Anti-Malarial Drugs
Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you. Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional.
You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
Rheumatoid arthritis progresses for different people in different ways. Learn more about the stages of rheumatoid arthritis, along with treatment…. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that often strikes in middle age.
Do not smoke while taking anti-malarial medications, since smoking actually reduces the benefits of these drugs. In fact, people with lupus should not smoke at all due to their increased risk of cardiovascular disease. You should always take your anti-malarial medications with food to prevent stomach upset.
If a stomachache does occur, it is usually temporary. However, if you experience stomach upset while taking generic hydroxychloroquine, ask your doctor about trying name-brand Plaquenil instead. While these medications contain the same active ingredient, the preparation of generic hydroxychloroquine can sometimes cause stomach irritation. This sort of upset usually does not occur with commercial Plaquenil. Lastly, remember that even though you may feel the benefits of anti-malarial therapy after about a month of treatment, it may take up to three months for the full benefits of the drug to manifest.
If you experience any serious adverse effects, notify your doctor. Long-term anti-malarial use is normally safe. However, if you stop taking your anti-malarial drugs, you may experience a lupus flare.
Hydroxychloroquine | Side-effects, uses, time to work
Anti-malarial drugs may have additional health benefits for some people. Potential benefits include greater protection from UV light and lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. These benefits may be especially helpful for people taking steroids. In addition, individuals with antiphospholipid antibodies, such as the lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies, may experience a decreased likelihood of blood clots. If side effects do occur, they are usually minor and last only for a short period of time. All information contained within the Johns Hopkins Lupus Center website is intended for educational purposes only.
Physicians and other health care professionals are encouraged to consult other sources and confirm the information contained within this site. Consumers should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something they may have read on this website. Hydroxychloroquine Plaquenil Chloroquine Aralen Quinacrine Atabrine What are anti-malarial drugs, and why are they used to treat lupus? What anti-malarial drugs are commonly prescribed for lupus?
It may be 12 weeks or longer before you notice any benefit.
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Because it's a long-term treatment it's important to keep taking hydroxychloroquine unless you have severe side effects:. There's a small risk that hydroxychloroquine can damage a part of the inside of the eye called the retina. And this increases with long-term use and higher dosage. Your doctor will advise you on a safe dose to take according to your weight, and you will need to have regular monitoring of your eyes.
This monitoring of your eyes may be arranged at a hospital clinic when you start the drug and then again once a year in a hospital when you have been taking the drug for more than five years. Otherwise, you should have a check up with an optician once a year and tell them that you're taking hydroxychloroquine. If you develop any other new symptoms or there's anything else that concerns you after starting hydroxychloroquine, you should tell your doctor or rheumatology nurse specialist as soon as possible. Hydroxychloroquine is commonly used alongside other disease-modifying drugs including methotrexate — especially for rheumatoid arthritis.
However, some drugs can interact with hydroxychloroquine. Indigestion remedies for example, antacids including some over-the-counter preparations can stop hydroxychloroquine being absorbed. It's recommended you wait at least four hours after taking hydroxychloroquine before you take an indigestion remedy. Discuss any new medications with your doctor before starting them, and always mention you're on hydroxychloroquine if you're treated by anyone other than your usual healthcare team.
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You can have vaccinations, including live vaccines such as yellow fever and shingles, while you're on hydroxychloroquine. Even though hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug, don't assume it will protect you if you're travelling to an area where there's a risk of malaria. Always check with a healthcare professional what precautions you need to take against malaria.
Methotrexate is a DMARD used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, vasculitis and psoriatic arthritis. Learn the risks and side-effects. However, if you're also taking methotrexate you should keep well within the recommended limits no more than 14 units of alcohol per week for adults as methotrexate can interact with alcohol and affect your liver.
In some circumstances your doctor may advise lower limits. We suggest you discuss your medication with your doctor if you're planning to have a baby, become pregnant or are thinking of breastfeeding.
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