What is this medication?
Aminoquinoline, Antimalarial Agent
Hydroxychloroquine/Plaquenil is officially indicated for lupus erythematosus, malaria, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also prescribed off-label for dermatomyositis, porphyria cutanea tarda, primary Sjogren syndrome, Q fever, and sarcoidosis. (may be used for conditions not listed)
How does this medication work?
The mechanism of how Hydroxychloroquine/Plaquenil works for many conditions is not fully understood. As an antimalarial it is thought to interfere with the digestive vacuole of the malarial parasites that are sensitive to this agent by increasing pH and by decreasing the rate of hemoglobin degradation. It may also inhibit the movement of neutrophils and eosinophils (white blood cells) and may impair complement dependent antigen-antibody reactions.
How should I take this medication?
Oral: 100-400mg once or twice daily
How to Take: Follow instructions provided by physician/pharmacy label, take consistently at same times each day unless otherwise directed, swallow whole, store at room temperature, take after food or milk to reduce gastrointestinal upset.
You Need to Avoid: Avoid excessive alcohol consumption as it may increase liver toxicity.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Before starting Hydroxychloroquine/Plaquenil make sure your physician is aware of any allergies, medications you currently take, G6PD deficiency, gastrointestinal disorders, liver disease, porphyria, psoriasis, kidney disease, psychiatric conditions, diabetes, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
How should I store this medication?
Keep out of the reach of children at all times. Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C). Protect from light. Keep the container tightly closed. Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.
What are the possible side effects of using this medication?
Abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, nightmares, QT prolongation.
Hydroxychloroquine/Plaquenil can also cause retinopathy and if caught early can be reversible, so it is important for regular eye exams, one of which should be done within a year of initiating therapy as a baseline.
Note this is not a complete list of side effects, only common ones.
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