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    Information about Hydroxychloroquine

    Hydroxychloroquine uses

    Hydroxychloroquine is used in the treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

    How hydroxychloroquine works

    Hydroxychloroquine blocks the action of certain chemical messengers that are responsible for inflammation, swelling and redness associated with certain autoimmune diseases. It suppresses the underlying disease process, rather than simply treating the disease.

    Common side effects of hydroxychloroquine

    Headache, Feeling sick, Diarrhea, Mood changes, Loss of appetite, Abdominal pain
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Ashish Ranjan
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Varun Gupta
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    31 May 2019 | 12:01 PM (IST)
    Want to know more?
    Read Our Editorial Policy

    Available Medicine for Hydroxychloroquine

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      3 variant(s)
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      Zydus Cadila
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      Wallace Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd
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    Expert advice for Hydroxychloroquine

    • You have been prescribed Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus.
    • Take it with food to avoid an upset stomach.
    • It can take 8-12 weeks for Hydroxychloroquine to work. Keep taking it as prescribed.
    • Do not take medicines that neutralise stomach acids (antacids) four hours before and after taking Hydroxychloroquine as they can stop the medicine from being absorbed properly from your gut.
    • Have regular eye tests done while taking this medicine. Stop taking it and inform your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in your vision.
    • It can cause lowering of blood glucose level. Inform your doctor if you experience hypoglycemia symptoms such as cold sweats, cool pale skin, tremor, and anxious feeling.

    Frequently asked questions for Hydroxychloroquine


    Q. How long does it take for Hydroxychloroquine to start working?

    Hydroxychloroquine takes time to show its effects. It may take weeks to months before you see an improvement in your symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

    Q. Does Hydroxychloroquine have any effect on vision?

    Yes, though uncommon, Hydroxychloroquine can affect vision especially if taken at prescribed doses. The symptoms include reading or seeing difficulties (words, letters, or parts of objects missing), sensitivity to light, blurred distance vision, and seeing light flashes or streaks. If you notice any of these symptoms contact your doctor immediately since most of the changes can come to normal on discontinuing Hydroxychloroquine.

    Q. Do I need to get any tests done during Hydroxychloroquine treatment?

    An eye test is required before your treatment with Hydroxychloroquine starts and should be repeated at least every 12 months. Also, you should regularly check your blood counts. Your doctor will discontinue Hydroxychloroquine if any abnormality is detected.

    Q. Is Hydroxychloroquine an opioid, a painkiller, a steroid, or an anti-inflammatory medicine? How does it work?

    Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial medicine with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. It is neither a steroid nor an opioid nor a painkiller. In malaria, Hydroxychloroquine destroys the harmful parasite which causes the illness. Whereas in rheumatoid arthritis, it reduces inflammation of the joints and provides relief.

    Q. Can I take ibuprofen while taking Hydroxychloroquine?

    Yes, you can take ibuprofen and Hydroxychloroquine together. They do not interfere with working of each other.

    Q. What can I expect if I stop taking Hydroxychloroquine?

    If you stop taking Hydroxychloroquine without consulting your doctor, your illness may get worse. Therefore, do not stop taking Hydroxychloroquine without consulting your doctor, even if you start feeling better.

    Q. Do I need to be careful with Hydroxychloroquine if I am a diabetic?

    Yes, you need to be careful while using Hydroxychloroquine if you have diabetes. Hydroxychloroquine can lower your blood glucose levels to dangerous levels so much so that you can even lose consciousness. Keep a regular check on your blood glucose levels and if it starts to fall, contact your doctor immediately.

    Q. I am on antacids since a long time, which is necessary for me. Can I still take Hydroxychloroquine?

    Yes, you can take Hydroxychloroquine, provided you keep a gap of at least 4 hours between Hydroxychloroquine and antacid. If this gap is not maintained, then antacid will interfere with working of Hydroxychloroquine. As a result, you will not experience any benefit of Hydroxychloroquine.

    Content on this page was last updated on 31 May, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)