Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) is used alone or in combination with other anti-arthritic medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Hydroxychloroquine belongs to a group of medications known as anti-inflammatories and antimalarials. This medication can reduce skin problems in Lupus and prevent swelling or pain in joints due to arthritis. Hydroxychloroquine is also used to treat and prevent certain types of malaria. It may also be used for the treatment of Lupus. The starting dose for adults is 400mg to 600mg daily according to the condition being treated. It may take several weeks before you see the benefits of this treatment.
The brand Plaquenil comes from Canada manufactured by Sanofi Aventis. The generic Hydroxychloroquine is also known as Quinoric comes from the UK manufactured by Bristol. It is available in the strength of 200mg only.
Common side effects may include diarrhea, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach cramps.
The serious side effects may include:
• Arm, leg or back pain;
• Fast, irregular heartbeat;
• Hair loss, color change;
• Mental or mood changes;
• Ringing in the ears, hearing loss;
• Worsening of skin conditions
You should not take Plaquenil if you are allergic to Hydroxychloroquine or if you have any other allergies. Before you start taking this medication, inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking including OTC and herbal medications. This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive or do any other activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages because they may increase your risk of liver problems while taking this medication. This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. You should always use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. This medication passes into breast milk. Inform your doctor before breast-feeding. There may be a drug interaction between Plaquenil and other medications such as beta-adrenergic blockers, cyclosporine, diabetes medications, insulin, live vaccines, pimecrolimus, tacrolimus, thioridazine, etc.
The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
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