Uses of Hydroxychloroquine
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an immune system disorder in which immune system attacks it's own body tissues
- Rheumatoid arthritis (Swelling and Pain in Joints)
- Skin rash due to sun exposure
Contraindications of Hydroxychloroquine
When should one not use Hydroxychloroquine
- If you are allergic to Hydroxychloroquine or any of the other ingredients of this medicine
- If you are allergic to chloroquine
- If you are suffering from an eye disease called maculopathy usually characterised by visual abnormalities
Side effects of Hydroxychloroquine
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite
- Headache, dizziness, mood swings and nervousness
- Skin rash, itching, loss of hair and pigmentation
- Blurred vision, unable to recognise colours and other eye disorders. If this happens, immediately stop taking this medicine and inform your doctor
- Sudden severe fall in blood glucose, one may experience anxiety, sweating, hunger pangs, headaches, irritability or fainting
Precautions and Warnings of Hydroxychloroquine
Can I take Hydroxychloroquine during pregnancy?
This medicine may cause harmful effects in unborn baby. Therefore, it is not recommended during pregnancy.
Can I take Hydroxychloroquine while breastfeeding?
This medicine passes in human milk. Women taking this medicine should not breastfeed as newborns are very sensitive to the harmful effects of this medicine.
Can I drive if I have consumed Hydroxychloroquine?
You may experience visual disturbances, impaired ability to recognise objects properly & dizziness. Hence, you should avoid driving if you do not feel well or are unable to be alert.
Can I consume alcohol with Hydroxychloroquine?
You should avoid consuming alcohol while taking this medicine as it may worsen the side effects of this medicine.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- If you experience visual disturbances or have existing eye disorder, before beginning treatment with this medicine, you should undergo an eye examination
- If you experience a sudden drop in blood sugar and unconsciousness, monitoring of blood glucose is recommended if you are a diabetic
- This medicine may cause abnormal or irregular heartbeats
- Your doctor shall conduct an ECG before starting treatment with this medicine, inform your doctor if you already have heart disease
- If you have liver or kidney diseases, you may require dose adjustment
- If you have stomach disease
- If you develop swelling in legs, breathlessness, fatigue, bloating and coughing while lying
- If you develop rashes after taking this medicine
- If you have a history of an autoimmune disorder of skin called porphyria
- If you are supposed to take this medicine for long term treatment, you should be monitored regularly for heart health & blood count
- If you or your family has a history of an enzyme deficiency (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency)
- Keep this medicine away from children as even if a small amount accidentally taken may cause serious side effects
Mode of Action of Hydroxychloroquine
How Does It Work?
The medicine has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory action. It inhibits the action of chemicals such as prostaglandin, interleukins and other immune system modifying cells and enzymes. Therefore, relieves pain and swelling swelling in autoimmune diseases.
Interactions of Hydroxychloroquine
Interactions with other medicines
- Be cautious if you are taking medicine like Digoxin for heart failure as this medicine can increase its levels and lead to toxicity
- You may experience low blood sugar when taken along with insulin or other anti-diabetic medicine, inform your doctor about all your diabetic medicines. Your doctor shall decrease the dose of your anti-diabetic medicinesRead less
- Medicine used to reduce stomach acid and to stop diarrhoea should be taken with a minimum gap of four hour
- You may experience irregular heart rhythm if you take medicines like Amiodarone, Moxifloxacin & Halofantrine
- You may experience fits if you take this medicine along with other antimalarials like Mefloquine
- Medicines used to treat muscle weakness like Neostigmine & Pyridostigmine, medicines to treat worm infection like Praziquantel, cimetidine and gentamicin may not work properly
- Other medicines like Cyclosporin, Agalsidase and medicines used to treat fits
Dosage of Hydroxychloroquine
- Symptoms of overdose are headache, eyesight problems, low blood pressure, fits, irregular heartbeats, heart problems, difficulty in breathing and sometimes even heart attack
- If you experience any of these symptoms or if you think you have taken too much of this medicine, contact your doctor immediately or visit the nearest hospital
Missed a Dose
- You should never miss your dose as it may lead to treatment failure
- If you missed any dose of medicine, take it as soon as you remember
- If it's time for your next dose, then skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule
- Do not take a double dose of medicine to compensate for the missed one
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can I take this medicine on my own?
A: No, this medicine is to be taken if prescribed by your doctor. Taking this medicine by self-medication can lead to harm. Before giving this medicine, your doctor shall perform an ECG to check if you have any heart ailment. Your doctor will also look at your other existing disorders, medicines and adjust the dose accordingly.
Q: Are there any serious side effects of Hydroxychloroquine?
A: Yes, there are certain serious side effects. It can cause very severe drop in blood sugar which can be dangerous. It can cause heart-related side effects which can be serious. It can cause skin peeling, blistering known as Stevens Johnson syndrome. It can cause anaemia, low platelet count and liver enzymes being raised.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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