Hydroxychloroquine is the tablet which is used to treat malaria, lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. It is available as a brand name drug Plaquenil. It is the prescription drug which only comes as an oral tablet. This tablet controls the immune system which might be over-active in some conditions. It is also being examined as an experimental treatment for coronavirus disease COVID-19.
How does it work?
As we discussed earlier, hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malaria drug. It treats malaria by killing the parasites, which causes malaria. It is not fully understood how this drug works to treat lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. It is said that this drug affects how the immune system of your body works, which may be beneficial in lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid.
What are the side effects of hydroxychloroquine?
There are no severe side effects of hydroxychloroquine, but there are some common side effects.
- Stomach cramps
These side effects will go in a few days or a couple of weeks. Consult to doctor if you have any severe side effects.
Some serious side effects of hydroxychloroquine
If you have felt any of the below side effects, then you need to call the doctor immediately.
- Heart disease includes heart failure and issues with heart rhythm
- Blurred vision or changes in vision
- Hearing loss
- Rapid swelling of your face
- Sore throat
- Unusual bleeding
- Muscle weakness
- Black-blue skin color
- Changes in hair color
- Abnormal mood changes
- Mental health effects
Warnings of hydroxychloroquine
- Allergy warning: It can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms include swelling, difficulty in breathing, and swelling. If you have any symptoms, then call to doctor right away. Don’t take this tablet again if you have an allergic reaction.
- Alcohol interaction warning: Misuse of alcohol can damage your liver, which might also affect how hydroxychloroquine works in your body. If you drink alcohol, then consult with your doctor regarding whether it is safe for you or not.
- Warning for people with specific health conditions: People with a skin problem, liver problems, or alcohol misuse and specific enzyme deficiencies need to consult with a doctor before taking this drug.
How to take hydroxychloroquine?
The dosage of hydroxychloroquine depends on various factors which include:-
- The condition being treated
- How severe your health condition is
- Medical conditions you have
- How you react to your first dose
Dosage for 18 years and above
- The starting dose is 800 mg, which is followed by 400 mg three times. Six hours after the first dose, 24 hours after 2nd dose and 48 hours after 3rd dose.
- Dosage is 400 mg once in a week, and it should be taken on the same day each week.
Dosage for children (below 18 years)
- The starting dosage is 13mg, and additional doses of 6.5 mg should be given at the following times. The dose depends on body weight.
Considerations of hydroxychloroquine
Keep these considerations in your mind if your doctor prescribes you hydroxychloroquine:
- Never cut or crush the tablet
- Always take a tablet with a glass of milk or meal
- Always take medicine at the recommended time by the doctor. If you don’t take medicine on time prescribed by the doctor, then the level of the drug in the body could decrease or increase. If it increases, then it has side effects. If it decreases, then it might lose its effectiveness.
- Store this drug at room temperature
- Keep the drug away from light and high temperature
- Never store this medicine in damp areas or moist.
AUTHOR: Ravikant Sanguri