Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) Overview

Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial medication with a potential for the treatment of some autoimmune diseases. This drug is mow studied for being effective against the new coronavirus.

Hydroxychloroquine - a Strong Weapon against Serious Diseases

Hydroxychloroquine is better known under its brand name Plaquenil. This drug has been proving its efficiency in the treatment and prevention of malaria since 1955 when it got an FDA-approval and came on the shelves of the American drugstores.

Except for its antimalarial properties, this medication is also known for its immunosuppressive effect. This is the reason why Plaquenil is prescribed as a part of complex therapy in people dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

However, as of 2020, this drug has also shown the potential to become the cure for the patients affected by the world COVID-19 pandemic. Though the medication is still being studied and tested in this regard, some positive results of its experimental use in infected people are already present. The WHO has Hydroxychloroquine on its List of Essential Medications. Besides, this organization allowed its off-label use to help patients with the novel coronavirus.

Hydroxychloroquine. Details on Intake

Because of the diversity of the diseases, Plaquenil can treat, the dosing regimen significantly differs. Hydroxychloroquine belongs to the medicines that can only be bought on prescription. Thus, you should first visit a doctor to get the medication.

Your healthcare provider will evaluate all the pros and cons of using this medication in your particular case. Based on the results of his/her examination, your age, weight, and general health condition, you’ll be given the recommendations on the safe and effective dosing regimen.

Always stick to the doctor’s prescriptions. It will allow you to minimize the risks for severe side effects and get the most benefit from the drug.

The frequency, the duration, and the dose of the drug needed are determined individually. The common recommendations for the therapy of lupus say that the daily dose for adults should range from 200 mg to 400 mg. It can be taken either once a day or divided into two doses. The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis presupposes dose titration from 400 – 600 mg daily to 200 – 300 mg daily as soon as the needed therapeutic effect is achieved.

To prevent infecting with malaria, you should start taking the medication two weeks before the possible exposure and continue the intake for a month after coming back from the dangerous area. With this aim, take 400 mg of the drug on the same day of the week. In case you need treatment, the loading dose of Plaquenil is 800 mg. For the following intakes, it should be reduced to 400 mg.

Children, elderly patients, and individuals with serious heart, liver or kidney issues may need their dose to be adjusted. It is better to take Plaquenil with food, as it will reduce its negative impact on the gastrointestinal tract.

Contraindications to Plaquenil Use

Despite the positive effects of the drug on the treatment of some very serious health problems, it can get dangerous when used in individuals with certain contraindications to hydroxychloroquine. Plaquenil is contraindicated in the following categories of patients:

  • People allergic to the active ingredient of the drug, 4-aminoquinoline or any of the drug excipients;

  • Individuals with serious heart rhythm problems, QT-prolongation;

  • Diabetics;

  • Patients suffering from psoriasis;

Pregnant women can take Hydroxychloroquine only if their doctor considers that the benefits for the mother prevail the risks for the fetus. Lactating women should stop breastfeeding the baby in case they need therapy with Plaquenil.

Hydroxychloroquine. What should You Tell a Doctor before Intake?

The success and the safety of your treatment with Hydroxychloroquine seriously depend on your general health condition. To help your doctor set the right dosing regimen and reduce the likelihood of developing serious side effects, you should tell him/her about the following things:

  • Current or past alcohol abuse;

  • Vision or hearing problems;

  • Arrhythmia in medical history;

  • Certain skin diseases;

  • Kidney or liver issues.

Besides, your doctor should know about each and every medication (both on- and off-label) you use. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you take any illegal drugs as they can also affect the way Plaquenil will work for you.

General Recommendations for People Taking Plaquenil

The therapy with Hydroxychloroquine can last from a couple of days to a several weeks. To bring the possible harm of the drug to zero, you need to keep to some advice. They will help you go through the period of treatment with minimum unwanted effects.

Recommendation 1. Protect your skin from the sun.

Plaquenil will make your skin more sensitive to ultraviolet. Therefore, being exposed to the sun, you risk getting sunburnt. To prevent it, use high-level protection sunscreen. Wearing a hat, sunglasses, and proper clothes can also help to deal with this unwanted effect of the drug.

Recommendation 2. Avoid activities that demand alertness.

Hydroxychloroquine can make you dizzy. Besides, the drug can alter your vision, which can be dangerous when you drive or operate the machinery. Try to avoid such activities until you know your reaction to the drug.

Recommendation 3. Don’t drink alcohol.

The medication is metabolized by the liver. Taking high doses of Plaquenil, the load on the organ is very intensive. When you drink alcohol, it gets even higher. As a result, you risk developing severe adverse effects associated with hepatic failure, including yellowing of the skin and eyeballs, dark urine, severe abdominal pain.

Recommendation 4. Don’t take drugs.

The reason we give such a recommendation is the same as with alcohol, the effects on your liver. However, it is also important to add that the drugs, the same as Plaquenil, can affect your mood. Therefore, the substances will work in synergy increasing the risks for severe adverse reactions and, possibly, Hydroxychloroquine overdose symptoms. Cannabis can intensify the negative effects of the drug on your eyes.

Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine is a medication that can be used to treat multiple diseases including malaria, Lupus Erythematosus, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

200mg

Package Price Per pill Savings Order
30 tablet $  60.60 $ 2.02
60 tablet $ 108.60 $ 1.81 $ 12.60
90 tablet $ 140.20 $ 1.56 $ 41.60
120 tablet $ 166.00 $ 1.38 $ 76.40
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Product Description:

Hydroxychloroquine is used to prevent or treat malaria. 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.

How to use Hydroxychloroquine


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.
Following the dosage instructions of your doctor is the best way to use any medication. If you are unsure or do not remember the instructions then you may read the medicine label for more detailed information.If you miss a dose, take missed dose as soon as you think about it. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

Safety Info:

Warning/Precautions:


Doctors advise against using Hydroxychloroquine if you are allergic to any ingredient in it. Discuss your past/current medical history in detail with your doctor before beginning treatment with any new medication.

Side Effects:


Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, or headache may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor promptly.

Packaging:

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  • Hydroxychloroquine

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    Hydroxychloroquine is a medication that can be used to treat multiple diseases including malaria, Lupus Erythematosus, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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  • Generic Aralen

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    Generic Aralen is an anti-malaria medicine that works by interfering with the growth of parasites in the red blood cells of the human body.

    Chloroquine Overview

    A detailed overview of Chloroquine will clear out the indications to the drug use, its potential for COVID-19 treatment, safety, contraindications, and possible side effects.

    Chloroquine coronavirus. An Old Drug with a New Potential

    Chloroquine is a drug intended to treat some types of malaria and amebiasis. It can also be used in patients suffering from certain autoimmune diseases, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. However, as of 2020, this preparation is being studied for its potential to cure COVID-19.

    How Chloroquine Works

    The efficiency of Chloroquine in individuals with chloroquine-sensitive forms of malaria is explained by the ability of the medication to inhibit the vital functions of the parasite cells. It interferes with the normal membrane function thus leading to cell autodigestion.

    The use of this preparation in the experimental treatment of patients infected with novel coronavirus is explained by the antiviral properties of Chloroquine. It affects the viral cell pH, which doesn’t allow the virus to release its RNA into the cell, and thus replicate.

    How to Take the Drug

    Chloroquine is a very serious medication with a whole list of warnings and contraindications. What’s more, the drug can be the reason for numerous adverse reactions, which can get extremely dangerous if it is taken without the doctor’s prescription. Therefore, the first step to a safe intake of Chloroquine is a consultation with a medical specialist. Only if your doctor considers that the potential benefits prevail the possible risks, he/she can give out a prescription for it.

    The dosing regimen of the drug depends on the disease treated. In case the medication is used for the prophylaxis of malaria, the scheme of intake gets totally different from the one used to cure this illness. For example, when using Chloroquine as a prophylactic measure, take 500 mg tablet once a week, the same day of the week. It is strongly advised to start the intake two weeks prior to the possible exposure to the parasite.

    The therapeutic dose of the medication for the treatment of malaria depends on the patient’s weight. The therapy lasts for only 3 days with different doses of the medication taken each day.

    When treating amebiasis, the common dose is 1 g Chloroquine for two days (single daily dose intake). The dose should be halved on the third day of the therapy and remain the same for the rest of two or three weeks of treatment.

    The Potential of Chloroquine for COVID-19

    Trying to find a cure for the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization, as well as the US CDC, allowed using some of the already existing drugs as an off-label treatment for this illness. Chloroquine became one of those that have shown positive results in patients with confirmed COVID-19.

    Because of the lack of knowledge regarding the effect of the drug on the virus and the absence of common recommendations for its use in this category of patients, it’s up to the medical specialists to decide what dose of Chloroquine to prescribe.

    Clinical studies on the efficiency and safety of Chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment are already on the way. They started in January and the first results give hope for the better.

    When Chloroquine is not Advised

    One of the cases, when Chloroquine can do more harm than benefit, is its use in patients who are hypersensitive or allergic to chloroquine or 4-aminoquinolines. It is strictly contraindicated to prescribe this drug to the patients with the mentioned issues.

    The medication can also provoke rapid worsening of certain health conditions, including:

    • Porphyria;

    • Psoriasis;

    • Lactose intolerance;

    • Vision problems (retinopathy).

    Therefore, its use in individuals with these health problems is not recommended.

    Warnings for the Drug Use

    Being a prescription-only drug, Chloroquine may cause more serious side effects in patients with certain health conditions. To reduce the risks, special caution and close monitoring are needed when prescribing Chloroquine to those suffering from:

    • Kidney or liver dysfunction;

    • Hearing problems;

    • Diabetes;

    • Heart rhythm issues, QT prolongation, in particular.

    There exist certain risks for the fetus and breastfed babies if their mothers take Chloroquine. It is recommended to avoid prescribing this medication in these patients. However, if the potential benefits for the mother prevail the possible risks for the baby, this medication can be applied.

    The drug can increase your skin sensitivity to the sun. Thus, you should use all the possible protective measures, including sunscreen, hats, and clothes covering the body areas that can be exposed to the sun to avoid sunburns.

    What Adverse Reactions to Chloroquine Are Possible

    The most commonly experienced side effects of the drug are associated with the gastrointestinal tract. They are the following:

    • Nausea;

    • Vomiting;

    • Diarrhea;

    • Stomach cramps.

    Headaches are also not rare in patients taking Chloroquine. In most cases, these reactions are light-to-moderate in nature and go away on their own. Still, you should inform your attending doctor about them to keep the situation under control.

    Unfortunately, the reactions we’ve mentioned above are only a few of all the possible conditions you may develop. Among the severe adverse effects to Chloroquine there are:

    • Changes in the blood sugar level;

    • Upper respiratory infection signs;

    • Slowed heart rhythm, QT prolongation;

    • Symptoms of heart failure;

    • Mood swings, depression;

    • Vision problems;

    • Ringing in the ears (rarely, hearing loss).

    The list can be continued but you’d better discuss it with your healthcare provider. Any of the listed reactions is a reason to call 911 or go to the nearest clinic.

    One of the factors determining the severity of adverse reactions you may experience is your general health condition. Also, the intake of certain medications or shortage of some nutrients (magnesium or potassium) can trigger more severe adverse reactions than in other patients taking Chloroquine. Therefore, informing your doctor about all the drugs and herbal products you use is crucial.

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