This medicine was originally used to prevent and to treat malaria. Hydroxychloroquine is usually taken twice daily.
How should this medicine be used?
The pills are mg. The usual dose is 1 or 2 pills daily. This medicine should be taken at the same time every day. It will take 1 to 2 months to begin working.
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Do not take more or less medicine than ordered. This medicine should be taken with food or milk. When you are taking Hydroxychloroquine, it is very important that your doctors know if you are taking any other medicine. This includes prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as birth control pills, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Rarely, Hydroxychloroquine can cause vision problems.
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A Phoenix-area man died and his wife is in critical condition after taking chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks. The cleaning agent has the same active ingredient as the medicine chloroquine but is formulated differently.
Chloroquine has been used to treat malaria since the s. Hydroxychloroquine came along a decade later and has fewer side effects. The latter is sold in generic form and under the brand name Plaquenil for use against several diseases.
The drugs can cause heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage. Plaquenil's label warns of possible damage to the retina, especially when used at higher doses, for longer times and with certain other medicines such as the breast cancer drug tamoxifen.
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Hydroxychloroquine is far safer, but its side effects are still significant," Meghan May, a microbiologist at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine, wrote in an email. That's where the evidence comes in — and, so far, there is not much. Hydroxychloroquine curbed coronavirus' ability to enter cells in lab tests, researchers reported last week in the journal Nature Medicine.
That doesn't mean it would do the same in people or that they could tolerate the doses tested in the lab.
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A report from China claimed chloroquine helped more than patients at 10 hospitals, but they had various degrees of illness and were treated with various doses for different lengths of time. They also might have recovered without the drug — there was no comparison group. The French study has attracted the most attention.
Doctors gave hydroxychloroquine to 26 people with confirmed coronavirus infections, including some with no symptoms. Six also were given the antibiotic azithromycin.
Responding to COVID-19
That's encouraging, but many things could have affected the outcome, such as how sick people were, when they were treated, what other treatments they received, as well as their age, gender and underlying health conditions. Its biggest limitation: A drop in detected virus doesn't mean the drugs will improve survival or shorten illness. The supply already is pinched for patients who need the drugs for other reasons.
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