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Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate

Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate

Uses

Hydroxychloroquine is used to prevent or treat malaria infections caused by mosquito bites. It does not work against certain types of malaria (chloroquine-resistant). 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.

What is hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet.

Hydroxychloroquine is available as the brand-name drug Plaquenil. It’s also available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.

Hydroxychloroquine may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s also used to prevent and treat malaria.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of hydroxychloroquine can be fatal, especially in children.

Hydroxychloroquine overdose must be treated quickly. You may be told to induce vomiting right away (at home, before transport to an emergency room). Ask the poison control center how to induce vomiting in the case of an overdose.

Overdose symptoms may include drowsiness, vision changes, slow heart rate, chest pain, severe dizziness, seizure (convulsions), or shallow breathing.

Side Effects

Hydroxychloroquine typically is very well tolerated. Serious side effects are rare. The most common side effects are nausea and diarrhea, which often improve with time. Less common side effects include rash, changes in skin pigment (such as darkening or dark spots), hair changes, and muscle weakness. Rarely, hydroxychloroquine can lead to anemia in some individuals. This can happen in individuals with a condition known as G6PD deficiency or porphyria.

In rare cases, hydroxychloroquine can cause visual changes or loss of vision. Such vision problems are more likely to occur in individuals taking high doses for many years, individuals 60 years or older, or those with significant kidney disease. At the recommended dose, development of visual problems due to the medication is rare. It is recommended that you have an eye exam within the first year of use, then repeat every one to five years based on current guidelines.

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

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