Plaquenil - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Plaquenil: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Plaquenil?

Plaquenil or Hydroxychloroquine belongs to a class of drugs called Antimalarials and DMARDs (Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug). It is a prescription drug used in the treatment of Malaria, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. It may be used alone or in combination with other medications. 

Plaquenil is not recommended for patients who are allergic to hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.

Plaquenil has also been studied for its ability to prevent and treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19), but clinical trials found it ineffective against the disease.

What are the uses of Plaquenil?

Plaquenil is an FDA-approved drug most often used to treat malaria and autoimmune disorders. It is also recommended if you have:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Primary Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

The medicine is approved for use in adults and children of all ages who weigh at least 31 kilograms. However, Plaquenil is not recommended for treating children with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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What are the side effects of Plaquenil?

Some of the most common side effects of Plaquenil include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Ringing sensation in ears
  • Skin rash
  • Weight loss
  • Mood changes
  • Itching

The above symptoms should go away in a few days. However, Plaquenil may cause some severe side effects, including:

  • Light flashes in your vision
  • Fainting
  • Headache with chest pain and severe dizziness
  • Fast or slow heart rate
  • Fast or pounding heartbeats
  • Weak pulse
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Feeling anxious
  • Pale skin
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Feeling lightheaded

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, get medical help right away.


Frequently Asked Questions about Plaquenil

1. How long does it take Plaquenil to work for lupus?

Plaquenil is a DMARD, which stands for Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs. It works slowly and may take one to three months before you notice any benefit. Since it’s a long-term treatment, continue taking it for the prescribed duration. Your doctor may also recommend other medicines in addition to Plaquenil for pain and stiffness.

2. How to take Plaquenil?

Your doctor will recommend a suitable dosage considering your body weight. You may be required to take Plaquenil as a pill one or two times a day. Avoid taking this medicine on an empty stomach as it can upset the stomach.

3. Is Plaquenil a steroid?

Plaquenil is not a steroid but a steroid-sparing agent. Steroid drugs, when taken long-term, can lead to various side effects such as fluid retention, elevated blood sugars, etc. However, the risk of long-term effects is reduced when steroid-sparing drugs are used.

4. Can I take a multivitamin with Plaquenil?

While no interactions have been found between Plaquenil and Vitamins, it is advisable to consult your doctor on the same.

5. Does Plaquenil cause sun sensitivity?

Plaquenil can cause sun sensitivity. The likelihood of experiencing these side effects is high if the patient is using the medication long-term. Avoid direct exposure to the sun when UV light is highest (11 am-4 pm). Visit your doctor if sun sensitivity occurs, who may recommend soothing, topical lotions or creams.

6. Can Plaquenil worsen neuropathy?

Plaquenil may cause muscle and nerve problems, worsening neuropathy. Consult your doctor if you have muscle weakness, tenderness, or pain while using this medicine.

7. How does Plaquenil help arthritis?

Plaquenil helps to relieve inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain associated with arthritis.

8. Is Plaquenil a blood thinner?

Plaquenil also acts as a blood thinner, which prevents blood cells from clotting.

9. Is Plaquenil an anti-inflammatory?

Plaquenil is a disease-modifier drug, which helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Though the exact mechanism of how Plaquenil works is not known, it is believed that the drug interferes with communication between the cells of the immune system and blocks the action that causes inflammation.

10. Why is Plaquenil bad for the eyes?

Plaquenil causes changes in the pigment of the central portion of the retina (macula), which is responsible for color vision and allows us to see fine details. Plaquenil binds to the retinal pigment cells, which over time cause adverse changes in the vision. The patient may start seeing the objects as blurry or distorted.
Plaquenil is prescribed in selected conditions only. It should not be shared with others. It may also interact with other medications. Hence, inform your doctor about the list of medicines, supplements, and non-prescription drugs you use.
Contact our expert doctors if you have concerns regarding the usage of this medicine or want to seek diagnosis and treatment for your or your loved one’s health problems.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.