Brand names of hydroxychloroquine

  • Dermoplast
  • Plaquenil

Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription medication that belongs to the anti-malarial group of drugs. This medication is akin to chloroquine (Aralen) and is used to cure or prevent different types of malaria, which is caused by parasites. In addition hydroxychloroquine is also prescribed to treat lupus erythematosus (any of numerous autoimmune diseases distinguished by red, scaly skin patches) and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Parasites responsible for causing malaria usually enter the body by means of a mosquito bite and they invade the red blood cells. Use of the prescription medicament hydroxychloroquine helps to thwart the malaria parasites from metabolizing (breaking down) hemoglobin in the human red blood cells. In effect, hydroxychloroquine is known to be very effectual against malarial parasites P. malariae, Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale as well as vulnerable strains of P. falciparum. In addition, hydroxychloroquine also averts inflammation caused by lupus erythematosus as well as rheumatoid arthritis. Hydroxychloroquine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States in April 1955.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking hydroxychloroquine

You need to exercise a few cautions prior to using hydroxychloroquine. Before you use this prescription drug, it is essential to tell your physician if you have any allergic reactions to hydroxychloroquine, primaquine, chloroquine (Aralen) or any other similar drugs. Also inform your physician if you have ever experienced any vision problems while taking hydroxychloroquine, primaquine or chloroquine (Aralen). In addition, you should also inform your physician regarding all the prescription, non-prescription (over-the-counter) and herbal medications as well as minerals and supplements being taken by you. You should especially tell your doctor, if you are using digoxin (Lanoxin), acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), isoniazid (Nydrazid), any medication enclosing iron, such as multivitamins, niacin, methotrexate (Rheumatrex), and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane).

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Before using hydroxychloroquine, you must also tell your doctor if you have or ever had any liver ailment, psoriasis, porphyria (also called hematoporphyria) or any other blood disorders, dermatitis or inflammation of the skin, G-6-PD deficiency and/ or if you consume excessive alcoholic drinks. Women who are planning to take hydroxychloroquine should tell their physician if they are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breast feeding. In case any woman becomes pregnant while taking hydroxychloroquine, it is important to consult your physician right away.


The prescription drug hydroxychloroquine is used to avoid as well as cure malaria cause by explicit strains of plasmodia, which are susceptible to chloroquine, but when chloroquine is unavailable. It may be noted that plasmodia is the parasite that is responsible for causing malaria.

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Precisely speaking, hydroxychloroquine is generally used to avoid or cure malarial infections caused by mosquito bites. However, this medication has been found to be ineffective in treating specific cases of malaria, especially those that are resilient to chloroquine. It may be mentioned that the United States Center for Disease Control offers latest guidelines as well as travel advices for preventing as well as treating malaria in different region of the world. Hence, before you take a trip to areas where malaria is widespread, talk to your physician regarding the latest information on this disease.

In addition, hydroxychloroquine is generally used in combination with other medications to cure auto-immune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, especially when other medicines have failed to yield the desired results or when other medicines cannot be used owing to certain conditions of the patient. Hydroxychloroquine has the aptitude to lessen skin problems in people suffering from lupus and also avoid swelling and pain in patients suffering from arthritis. However, the exact mechanism of drug is yet to be known. Besides the health conditions discussed above, this medicament may be used to treat a number of infections.

How to use hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine is an oral drug that should be taken with food or milk with a view to avoid stomach disorders. The dosage as well as the duration of treatment with this medication depends on the medical condition of the patient and his/ her response to the therapy. In children, the dosage of hydroxychloroquine depends on their body weight.

To prevent malaria, this medication ought to be taken by mouth once every week on the same day every week or as prescribed by the physician. The best way to remember when to take the doses of hydroxychloroquine is to prepare a calendar highlighting the dates when you need to take the medication. Usually, the therapy with this drug is started two weeks prior to visiting the area affected by malaria. While you are in the affected area, you may take this medication once every week and continue the therapy with the medication for anything between four to eight weeks after leaving the region or as suggested by your physician.

In order to treat malaria, take hydroxychloroquine as per the directions of your physician. For treating lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, hydroxychloroquine should be taken orally generally once or twice every day or as prescribed by your physician. In certain cases, the physician may also increase the dosage of the medicine gradually. On the other hand, when you have taken the medication for some time and there are signs of improvement of your condition, your physician may ask you to decrease the dosage of hydroxychloroquine gradually till you settle at the dosage that works best for you and has minimum side effects. In case you are taking this medication every day, remember to take it at the same time every day. Moreover, you ought to take the precise dosage prescribed by your physician for an overdose of the medication may result is adverse after effects.

Never stop taking hydroxychloroquine without consulting your physician, particularly if you are taking the medication to treat malaria. It is essential that you continue the medicine for the entire duration for which it has been prescribed. If you try to stop taking the medicine too soon, it may result in infections or relapse of malaria. Inform your physician at once in case your condition persists or deteriorates while taking hydroxychloroquine. If you are taking hydroxychloroquine for treating arthritis or lupus, it may take several months' time before any improvement in condition is noticeable.

It is important to bear in mind that taking hydroxychloroquine may not prove to be effective in preventing or curing malaria all the time. Seek instant medical help in the event of experiencing fever or any symptom of illness while taking hydroxychloroquine. In this case hydroxychloroquine may not be suitable for you and you might require a different medication. Try to avoid exposure to mosquitoes.

If you have missed a dose of hydroxychloroquine, take it as soon as you remember it. Nevertheless, if it is too late and nearly time for taking the next dose, pass over the missed dose and continue with your regular dosage. Never take a double dose of the medication with a view to make up for a missed dose.

If you suspect that you have taken an overdose of hydroxychloroquine, immediately get in touch with your neighbourhood poison control center or an emergency room.

How hydroxychloroquine works

While hydroxychloroquine is effective in preventing as well as curing malaria caused by mosquito bites, the exact mechanism of this medication is yet to be ascertained. In fact, this drug works like a poison to the malarial parasite - plasmodia. If you are using hydroxychloroquine for lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, it will work to suppress the discharge of specific chemicals that are responsible for inflammation.

Side effects

No common side effects have been reported.
Less common

Possible interactions

Hydroxychloroquine is known to interact with certain drugs, herbal medications and/ or minerals. It also reacts with alcohol and is known to cause photosensitivity when exposed to the sun. Hence, precaution needs to be taken to avoid these while taking hydroxychloroquine.

Hydroxychloroquine is known to interact strongly when used concurrently with St. John's wort and the patient is exposed to the sun. In such cases, the patient may experience photosensitivity owing to the additives in the medication. Although mistletoe herb, hay flower and white mustard seed carry German Commission E monograph indications for arthritis, they have not been examined for reactions when used with hydroxychloroquine. Hence, it is import to consult with your physician before you use hydroxychloroquine concurrently with any herbal product.

People taking hydroxychloroquine should limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages with a view to lessen the chances of stomach irritation.

Unless the patient's susceptibility to the sun has been determined, he/ she should use hydroxychloroquine very cautiously. In effect, even medications that are closely related to hydroxychloroquine may cause photosensitivity.


When you stop taking hydroxychloroquine, it is essential to have a quick evaluation in case any of the following developments occur - seizures, changes in vision or hearing, signs of any infection, such as sore throat, fever and others, abnormal weakness of the muscles, unusual bleeding or bruising.

Storage instructions

Hydroxychloroquine should always be stored in room temperature up to 30°C and always kept ways from moisture and light. This medication should never be stored in the bathroom. Since children are extremely susceptible to the consequences of hydroxychloroquine, always keep this medication as well as other medications out of their as well as the pets' reach. Unless it is instructed, never discard this medicine into a drain or flush it down the toilets. When the expiry date of the medication lapses or when it is no more required, dispose it off in a proper way. You may consult the issue with your pharmacist or the neighbourhood disposal company and get further details regarding the safe discarding of the medication.


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