What is Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate | Plaquenil Generic?
Hydroxychloroquine, sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, is a medication used to prevent and treat malaria in areas where malaria remains sensitive to chloroquine. Other uses include treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda. It is taken by mouth, often in the form of hydroxychloroquine sulfate.
Common side effects may include vomiting, headache, changes in vision, and muscle weakness. Severe side effects may include allergic reactions, vision problems, and heart problems. Although all risks cannot be excluded, it remains a treatment for rheumatic disease during pregnancy. Hydroxychloroquine is in the antimalarial and 4-aminoquinoline families of medication.
Hydroxychloroquine was approved for medical use in the United States in 1955. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. In 2018, it was the 129th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States. Hydroxychloroquine is used to prevent or treat malaria caused by mosquito bites. The United States Center for Disease Control provides updated guidelines and travel recommendations for the prevention and treatment of malaria in different parts of the world. Discuss the most recent information with your doctor before traveling to areas where malaria occurs. This medication is also used to treat certain auto-immune diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis). It belongs to a class of medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). It can reduce skin problems in lupus and prevent swelling/pain in arthritis.
Hydroxychloroquine treats rheumatic disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and porphyria cutanea tarda, and certain infections such as Q fever and certain types of malaria. It is considered the first-line treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus. Certain types of malaria, resistant strains, and complicated cases require different or additional medication.
It is widely used to treat primary Sjögren syndrome but does not appear to be effective. Hydroxychloroquine is widely used in the treatment of post-Lyme arthritis. It may have both an anti-spirochete activity and an anti-inflammatory activity, similar to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Using this medicine alone or with other medicines (eg, azithromycin) may increase your risk of heart rhythm problems (eg, QT prolongation, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia). Do not take any medicine that contains hydroxychloroquine unless prescribed by your doctor. Hydroxychloroquine belongs to a group of medicines known as antimalarials. It works by preventing or treating malaria, a red blood cell infection transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. However, this medicine is not used to treat severe or complicated malaria. Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus). It is also used to treat acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis.
Side effects of Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate | Plaquenil Generic?
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Incidence not known
- Blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
- blurred vision or other vision changes
- chest discomfort, pain, or tightness
- cough or hoarseness
- dark urine
- decreased urination
- defective color vision
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty seeing at night
- dizziness or fainting
- fast, pounding, uneven heartbeat
- feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior
- feeling that others can hear your thoughts
- feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
- fever with or without chills
- general feeling of tiredness or weakness
How to use Plaquenil Generic
Take this medication by mouth, usually with food to prevent stomach upset, exactly as directed by your doctor. The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight.
To prevent malaria, take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once a week on the same day each week. Mark a calendar to help you remember. This drug is usually started 1 to 2 weeks before entering the malarious area. Continue to take it weekly while in the area and for 4 to 8 weeks after leaving the area, or as directed by your doctor. To treat malaria, follow your doctor’s instructions.
For lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice daily. Your doctor may gradually increase your dose. Once you have been taking the medication for a while and your condition has improved, your doctor may instruct you to lower your dose until you find the dose that works best with the fewest side effects.
If you are also taking a certain drug for diarrhea (kaolin) or taking antacids (such as magnesium/aluminum hydroxide), take hydroxychloroquine at least 4 hours before or after these products. These products may bind with hydroxychloroquine, preventing your body from fully absorbing it.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. If you are taking it on a daily schedule, take it at the same time(s) each day. Take this medication exactly as prescribed. Do not stop taking it without talking with your doctor, especially if you are taking it for malaria. It is important to continue taking this for the length of time prescribed. Stopping prevention or treatment too soon may lead to infection or a return of the infection.
Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse. It may take several weeks or months to see improvement if you are taking this for lupus or arthritis. Hydroxychloroquine may not prevent malaria in all cases. If you experience fever or other symptoms of illness, get medical help right away (especially while in the malarious area and for 2 months after returning from the area). You may need a different medication. Avoid exposure to mosquitoes. (See also Notes section.