Plaquenil, also known as hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine, is a drug taken for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and malaria. These three diseases all have different symptoms and treatments. Think of Plaquenil as similar to a key that opens the door to continue living your “normal life” while also dealing with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or malaria.
Plaquenil isn’t a cure for any of these conditions; rather it helps treat them by reducing pain and swelling from lupus or RA. This article contains important information about Plaquenil and its side effects so you can make decisions about what is best for you.
What is Plaquenil?
Plaquenil is an antimalaria drug that is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It is taken once a day over a period of months or years depending on the condition (up to 9 months for lupus). It is a hydroxychloroquine drug that is synthesized from chloroquine.
Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug used for the long term treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus. It is metabolized in the liver by cytochrome P450 and excreted in the urine.
How does Plaquenil Work for Lupus, RA & Malaria?
Plaquenil for lupus: Plaquenil for lupus is used for long-term treatment of the disease. It is used to reduce the frequency and severity of lupus flares, pain, swelling and fatigue. It is also used as a preventative measure if you have a positive ANA blood test, which is a test that indicates you may have lupus.
Plaquenil for RA: Plaquenil is often used in combination with other RA drugs like methotrexate and corticosteroids. It may reduce joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. It may also reduce the number of people who experience disease progression.
Plaquenil for malaria: Plaquenil is primarily used to prevent malaria. It is used in areas where malaria is common and the risk of contracting malaria is high. It is most frequently used when traveling to areas where malaria is common.
Plaquenil for Lupus – Common side effects of plaquenil for lupus are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, and headache.
Plaquenil for RA – Side effects of plaquenil for RA are dizziness, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and headache.
Plaquenil for Malaria – Plaquenil for malaria does not have adverse side effects.
Tips for Living with Lupus, RA & Malaria while Taking Plaquenil
- Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
- If you experience side effects, talk to your doctor. They may be able to change your prescription or suggest ways to manage the side effects.
- If you are taking Plaquenil for lupus, keep in touch with your doctor to monitor your health.
- If you are taking Plaquenil for RA, monitor your joints for any swelling or pain.
- If you are taking Plaquenil for malaria, take precautions to avoid mosquitoes.
If you have lupus, RA, or malaria, you may benefit from taking Plaquenil. It is important to be open and honest with your doctor about your current health and any medications you are taking. This allows your doctor to make the best decision for you and your condition. Be sure to monitor your health, talk with your doctor, and follow all instructions to reduce the risk of side effects.