How does Plaquenil work?
Hydroxychloroquinine is used in the treatment of some auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. In these diseases the body’s immune system is over-active and slightly defective. The body develops antibodies which attack and cause damage to its own cells. Damage can occur anywhere in the body, such as in the joints or cartilage as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. As a result of the damage to the joints, reduced mobility and stiffness in the affected joints is experienced.
Hydroxychloroquine is thought to act by interfering with the production and release of blood cells that are involved in the body’s immune defence system. Hence the autoimmune response of the antibodies against its own body, is reduced and as result the amount of damage to the cells is minimized and prevented. As it has the potential to prevent progression of the disease, by limiting the damage caused, it is often referred to as a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARDS) and is commonly used very early in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Hydroxychloroquine is also used in treating skin conditions that are caused or aggravated by sunlight.
What is Plaquenil used for?
• Inflammatory disease of the joints (rheumatoid arthritis)
• Long-term inflammation of skin and some internal organs (systemic lupus erythematosus) or related diseases e.g. scleroderma
• Severe inflammatory diease of the joint that commonly occurs in children and adolescents (juvenile arthritis)
• Skin damaged by the sun
• Skin disorders caused or made worse by sunlight
• This medication may cause a blurring of vision. If affected do not drive or operate machinery.
• People taking this medicine should have regular blood tests to check the levels of their blood components.
• It is recommended that eye examinations are carried out before starting treatment with this medicine and repeated every six months in the course of the treatment. This medicine should be discontinued if any visual problems develop.
Use with caution in
• Conditions involving the stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal conditions)
• Disease affecting the brain and nervous system (neurological disease)
• Individuals taking medicines that may cause skin reactions or impair vision
• Kidney disease
• Lack of the enzyme G6PD in the blood (G6PD deficiency)
• Life long inherited blood diseases which can cause a variety of symptoms, including mental health problems (porphyrias)
• Liver disease
• Severe blood disorders
Not to be used in
• Allergy to quinine
• Pre-existing abnormality of the eye (eye maculopathy)
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
• This medicine should not be used in pregnancy. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
• This medicine passes into breast milk in small amounts. Seek medical advice from your doctor before breastfeeding.
• Do not take indigestion remedies at the same time of day as this medication.
• Take this medication with or after food.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
• Blurred vision
• Changes in skin pigmentation
• Dislike of light (photophobia)
• Balance problems involving the inner ear (vertigo)
• Hair loss (alopecia)
• Disorders of the front layer of the eye (cornea)
• Worsening of the skin condition psoriasis
• Gastric disturbances including nausea, vomiting, gastric discomfort, constipation, diarrhoea
• Worsening of porphyria
• Disorder of the retina resulting in impairment or loss of vision.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug’s manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
Hydroxychloroquine may increase the blood levels of digoxin, resulting in an increased risk of side-effects or toxicity. Therefore close monitoring is required.
The absorption of hydroxychloroquine may be reduced by antacids (indigestion remedies). It is advisable to leave a 4-hour interval between the two doses.
In some countries PLAQUENIL may also be known as: Hydroxychloroquine, Ercoquin, Quensyl, Axokine, Evoquin, Metirel, Narbon, Polirreumin, Reuquinol, Apo-Hydroxyquine, Oxiklorin, Dolquine, Hydroquin