Salient Features of Hydroxychloroquine
- In 1955, the FDA approved hydroxychloroquine for the treatment and prevention of malaria so it is safe and effective in most people.
- Hydroxychloroquine prevents and treats acute attacks of malaria by not allowing the parasite to enter and proliferate in the human cells.
- The drug is also used to treat lupus erythematosus, an inflammatory condition of the skin, which is an autoimmune disease.
- Hydroxychloroquine is effective at treating rheumatoid arthritis in those who fail to respond to other treatments.
- Hydroxychloroquine has been undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 infection, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Hydroxychloroquine vs. Chloroquine
Hydroxychloroquine is nothing but a derivative of chloroquine. They have antimalarial and anti-inflammatory effects. Unlike chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine is often used for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The mechanism of action of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine is the same. Chloroquine is available under the brand name Aralen.
Working of Hydroxychloroquine
Hydroxychloroquine belongs to a class of drugs known as antimalarials. The drug works by preventing the malarial parasite from entering the human cells. Also, it does not allow the parasite to multiply in the cells. Hydroxychloroquine treats rheumatoid arthritis and lupus by decreasing the immune system’s activity.
Usage and Precautions
- You must take hydroxychloroquine tablets exactly as advised by your doctor. The dosage pattern is different for the prevention and treatment of malaria Ask your doctor for more details.
- For preventing malaria, take hydroxychloroquine one dose once a week, 1 to 2 weeks before you visit an area where malaria is endemic.
- For treating malaria, take hydroxychloroquine 400 mg as the first dose, 200 mg after 6 to 8 hours, and then 200 mg dose after 24 hours and 48 hours.
- For lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, take hydroxychloroquine 200 mg or 400 mg once a day in the morning, or as advised by a doctor.
- Before treatment, tell your doctor whether you have any medical conditions, especially arrhythmias, or any other medications you have been taking.
Possible Side Effects
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
Hydroxychloroquine is contraindicated to people who have the following medical conditions:
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
- Chronic alcoholism
- Heart disease
- Kidney/liver dysfunction
- Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine allergy
What does hydroxychloroquine do?
Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat and prevent malaria. It is also used to treat certain autoimmune diseases, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It helps reduce skin problems in lupus and prevent pain in arthritis.
Is hydroxychloroquine an immunosuppressant?
Hydroxychloroquine is a medication that is often taken by patients with autoimmune disease; however, it is not generally considered an immunosuppressant. Nevertheless, it does change the immune system’s activity in various ways.
How long does hydroxychloroquine stay in your body?
Hydroxychloroquine usually stays in your body for nearly 3 months. You may experience its side effects for a couple of months after stopping the drug.
Is hydroxychloroquine safe?
For most people, the drug is safe. However, for some people, especially the elderly, hydroxychloroquine has been found to cause arrhythmia, a heart rhythm disorder. So, people with heart disease should check with their doctor before using hydroxychloroquine.
Can I buy hydroxychloroquine online without a prescription?
In the United States, hydroxychloroquine is available by prescription only. However, in some countries, you may buy hydroxychloroquine online without a prescription.