What do hydroxychloroquine tablets do?
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE (Plaquenil(R)) helps to relieve swelling, stiffness and joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It is effective in controlling the symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus. Hydroxychloroquine is also sometimes used to suppress and treat acute attacks of malaria. Generic hydroxychloroquine tablets are available.
What should my health care professional know before I take hydroxychloroquine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
• an alcohol problem
• blood disorders
• dental disease
• eye disease
• glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
• liver disease
• nerve or brain disease
• seizures (convulsions)
• stomach or intestinal disease
• an unusual or allergic reaction to chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
• pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I take this medicine?
Take hydroxychloroquine tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow tablets with a drink of water. If hydroxychloroquine upsets your stomach take it with food or milk. If you are taking hydroxychloroquine to treat arthritis or lupus erythematosus you will need to take daily doses for several weeks. If you are taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent malaria, you should start taking it two weeks before entering the endemic area, and continue for 8 weeks after leaving. If you are treating an acute attack of malaria you will need treatment for several days. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a daily dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. If you forget a once-a-week dose, take it as soon as you can. Do not take double or extra doses.
What other medicines can interact with hydroxychloroquine?
• botulinum toxins
• magnesium trisilicate
Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.
What side effects may I notice from taking hydroxychloroquine?
Serious side effects are more likely to occur with long-term use for rheumatoid arthritis rather than in the short-term use for acute malarial attacks.
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:
• blurred vision, or change in vision
• fainting spells
• fever or chills, sore throat
• hearing loss
• headaches, confusion, or other mental changes
• muscle weakness
• ringing in the ears
• seizures (convulsions)
• skin rash, itching
• tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
• unusual bleeding or bruising
• unusual tiredness or weakness
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
• bleaching of body hair (with prolonged use)
• blue-black coloration of the skin, nails and hair
• hair loss
• loss of appetite
• nausea, vomiting