Keep taking hydroxychloroquine until your doctor tells you to stop. Do not stop taking it just because you feel better. If you stop, your symptoms may get worse again.
The study concludes that hydroxychloroquine therapy is safe for long-term use at doses <5 mg/kg/day. Learn about how lupus affects the eyes and hydroxychloroquine.
Long-term use and high doses of hydroxychloroquine are risk factors for the development of cardiomyopathy. Cardiac failure, conduction disorders (including QT prolongation and Torsades de Pointes) and sudden cardiac death are consequences of the cardiomyopathy.
Plaquenil and other anti-malarials are the key to controlling lupus long term, and some lupus patients may be on Plaquenil for the rest of their lives.
Its main side effects are gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps), skin rash, headache, dizziness, and ocular toxicity. However, serious side effects including arrhythmia, bronchospasm, angioedema, and seizures can rarely occur.
This medicine may cause muscle and nerve problems. Check with your doctor right away if you have muscle weakness, pain, or tenderness while using this medicine. Hydroxychloroquine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors.
Using Plaquenil for a long period of time may harm the retina, causing serious vision loss. People with retinal damage from Plaquenil are not aware at first that they are losing vision. Unfortunately, once they lose a severe amount of vision loss, it is permanent.
Hydroxychloroquine may potentially result in adverse effects on the central nervous system, mainly irritability, nervousness, emotional changes, nightmares, and even true psychoses [3, 4].
Cautions with other medicines
If you take antacids, leave a gap of at least 4 hours between taking them and hydroxychloroquine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including: azithromycin, erythromycin or clarithromycin, antibiotics. amiodarone or digoxin, medicines for heart problems.
Hydroxychloroquine is generally safe at normal doses, but higher amounts can damage the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, and could result in partial or complete blindness.
Experts haven't found any interactions between alcohol and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), a drug you may use in your lupus treatment plan. But you may also take other drugs alongside hydroxychloroquine, like methotrexate. If this is the case, you shouldn't drink alcohol.
Hydroxychloroquine typically is very well tolerated. The most common side effects are nausea and diarrhea, which often improve with time. Less common side effects include rash, hair changes, and muscle weakness.
Hydroxychloroquine acts by suppressing Toll-like receptors to trigger important immunomodulatory effects. Hydroxychloroquine is a well-established and effective therapy for systemic and cutaneous lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
Methotrexate is widely regarded as one of the safest of all arthritis drugs, though it carries some potential downsides.
Hydroxychloroquine is metabolized in the liver and may alter metabolism of other medications. Therapy is unlikely to cause liver injury in normal individuals, but can trigger an acute worsening of porphyria cutanea tarda in susceptible individuals.
Can Plaquenil have effects on my teeth? No, side effects related to teeth weren't reported in Plaquenil's clinical studies.
One of the side effects of hydroxychloroquine is that it can cause changes in emotional lability. Emotional lability means a person may have sudden and exaggerated changes in mood, with poorly controlled strong emotions that may include anger, dysphoria, sadness, or euphoria.
Similar potential side effects that have been described in the use of HCQ include neuropsychiatric side effects such as psychosis, depression and suicidal behaviour [20–22].
Adults—At first, 400 to 600 milligrams (mg) taken as a single dose or in two divided doses per day. Then, 200 mg once a day or 400 mg taken as a single dose or in two divided doses per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose if needed. Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
For some conditions, if hydroxychloroquine works for you then you may need to take it for several years, or even for the rest of your life, to control your symptoms. If you're taking hydroxychloroquine for a skin condition, you may only need to take it 2 or 3 times a week, or only during the summer.
Drugs that affect heart rhythm
Hydroxychloroquine should not be taken with other drugs that could cause heart arrhythmias (irregular heart rate or rhythm). Taking hydroxychloroquine with these drugs could cause dangerous arrhythmias. Examples of these drugs include: amiodarone.
This light sensitivity can cause inflammation, squinting, burning, excessive eye watering and can make going outside — even for a few moments or while it's overcast — difficult and painful. Hydroxychloroquine, for example, is one medication that can cause significant sun sensitivity in the eyes.
40 % of women by age 50 will develop female pattern hair loss. This means that 40 % of female patients who use Plaquenil will develop female genetic hair loss - not from the drug itself but because that is the expected frequency in the population.
Hydroxychloroquine may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.