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What is Hydroxychloroquine?
Hydroxychloroquine is a medicine that is useful in the treatment of malaria.
It also helps to treat lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. It is available as a brand-name drug and a generic drug. It is a prescription drug and comes as an oral tablet.
Hydroxychloroquine is associated with a class of medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). It is also available as a brand-name drug Plaquenil. You may need to take this medicine with other drugs.
Hydroxychloroquine is available in many pharmacy stores, and you can also order hydroxychloroquine online. If you need to buy hydroxychloroquine online, make sure that the medicine is genuine.
How to take hydroxychloroquine?
Take this medicine by mouth with food to prevent an upset stomach. Do not crush, cut, or break these tablets. Do not take this medicine other than the time prescribed by your doctor. It can increase or decrease the amount of the drugs in your body. If the level of drugs increases, you could have more side effects, and if it falls, the drug might become ineffective.
The dosage of hydroxychloroquine will depend on factors like:
● Medical condition
● The severity of your condition
● Other medical conditions you have
● Response to treatment
Some considerations for taking hydroxychloroquine:
● Take this medication once a week on the same day to prevent malaria. The starting dose is 800 mg, followed by 400 mg three times.
● Take hydroxychloroquine every day at the same time for treating lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The typical dose is 200 mg to 400 mg per day for lupus and 400 mg to 600 mg per day for arthritis.
● Use this medicine for the full prescribed duration, even if your symptoms quickly improve.
● You may need to take several medical tests and vision exams while using hydroxychloroquine.
What you should know before taking hydroxychloroquine?
Do not take hydroxychloroquine if you are allergic to it or chloroquine or if you have other allergies. This medicine may contain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives, swelling, trouble breathing.
High or long-term use of hydroxychloroquine can cause damage to your retina, leading to permanent vision problems. Taking high doses of hydroxychloroquine may lead to an overdose which can be fatal. Some of the overdose symptoms may include drowsiness, vision changes, seizure, slow heart rate, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc. You should tell your doctor or pharmacist if you ever had:
● Kidney or liver disease
● Heart disease
● Vision or eye problems
● Hearing problems
● Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
Some considerations before taking this medication include:
● Hydroxychloroquine can affect your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
● This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun.
● It can cause QT prolongation, a condition that affects the heart rhythm.
● Avoid using hydroxychloroquine during pregnancy or use it only when there is no other option.
● This medicine passes into breastmilk, so consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
What are the benefits of using hydroxychloroquine?
Hydroxychloroquine helps treat malaria by killing the organisms that are responsible for causing it. It also treats autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis by decreasing the activity of the immune system.
What are the side effects of hydroxychloroquine?
Some common side effects of hydroxychloroquine include:
● loss of appetite
● weight loss
● feeling nervous or irritable
● skin rash or itching
Serious side effects of hydroxychloroquine include:
● low blood sugar
● symptoms of heart failure
● mood change
● hearing problems
● yellowing eyes or skin
● hair loss
● stomach pain
● muscle weakness
● signs of liver disease
● unusual bleeding or bruising
This medicine may cause low blood sugar. The symptoms of low blood sugar include blurred vision, dizziness, sweating, hunger, etc.
Hydroxychloroquine can cause severe vision or eye problems. People who are taking this medicine for a long time or in high doses are at increased risk. The symptoms of eye problems include sensitivity to light and vision changes such as blurred vision, difficulty reading, etc.
A severe allergic reaction to this medicine can also occur in some rare cases. The symptoms include rash, itching or swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing.
How does hydroxychloroquine works?
Hydroxychloroquine is a medicine that belongs to a class of drugs known as antimalarial. It helps in the treatment of malaria by killing all the parasites that cause the disease.
Hydroxychloroquine affects how your immune system works. This medicine decreases the activity of the immune system, which helps in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
What to avoid while using hydroxychloroquine?
Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol can damage your liver which can affect how hydroxychloroquine works in your body. Avoid drinking alcohol while using this drug.
Drugs: Before using hydroxychloroquine, you should tell your doctor about the other medications that you take. These medications may include:
● Antiseizure drugs: Taking these medications with hydroxychloroquine can make antiseizure drugs less useful. Examples of such medicines are phenytoin and carbamazepine.
● Heart drugs: Taking heart drugs like digoxin with hydroxychloroquine can increase the level of digoxin in your body. The side effects of digoxin may increase.
● Insulin or other diabetic drugs: Using these drugs with hydroxychloroquine can decrease your blood sugar level. Some examples of diabetic medicines are chlorpropamide, glipizide, glimepiride, glyburide, and repaglinide.
● Malaria drugs: Taking hydroxychloroquine with malaria drugs like mefloquine can increase the risk of seizures.
Grapefruit juice: Grapefruit juice and grapefruit can increase the blood levels and effects of hydroxychloroquine which can cause an irregular heart rate.