What is Hydroxychloroquine?

Q:
What is hydroxychloroquine?

A:
Hydroxychloroquine is a quinoline medicine used to treat or prevent malaria, a disease caused by parasites that enter the body through the bite of a mosquito. It is also an antirheumatic medicine and is used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus.

Side Effects

Taking hydroxychloroquine long-term or at high doses may cause irreversible damage to the retina of your eye. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have trouble focusing, if you see light streaks or flashes in your vision, or if you notice any swelling or color changes in your eyes.

Before using hydroxychloroquine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have psoriasis, porphyria, liver disease, alcoholism, or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency.

Call a poison control center at once and then seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of hydroxychloroquine can be fatal, especially in children.

Take hydroxychloroquine for the full prescribed length of time for malaria. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.

When treating lupus or arthritis, tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 6 months of treatment.

Before Taking This Medicine

You should not use hydroxychloroquine if you are allergic to it.

Hydroxychloroquine should not be used for long-term treatment in children.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a history of vision changes or damage to your retina caused by an anti-malaria medication
  • heart disease, heart rhythm disorder (such as long QT syndrome)
  • diabetes
  • a stomach disorder
  • an allergy to quinine
  • liver or kidney disease
  • psoriasis
  • alcoholism
  • a genetic enzyme disorder such as porphyria

It is not known whether hydroxychloroquine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

 

Keywords: hydroxychloroquine; rheumatoid arthritis; malaria; side effects.