What is this medication?
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE (hye drox ee KLOR oh kwin) treats autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It works by slowing down an overactive immune system. It may also be used to prevent and treat malaria. It works by killing the parasite that causes malaria. It belongs to a group of medications called DMARDs.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Plaquenil, Quineprox
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Eye disease, vision problems
- G6PD deficiency
- Heart disease
- History of irregular heartbeat
- If you often drink alcohol
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- An unusual or allergic reaction to chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medication by mouth with a glass of water. Take it as directed on the prescription label. Do not cut, crush or chew this medication. Swallow the tablets whole. Take it with food. Do not take it more than directed. Take all of this medication unless your care team tells you to stop it early. Keep taking it even if you think you are better.
Take products with antacids in them at a different time of day than this medication. Take this medication 4 hours before or 4 hours after antacids. Talk to your care team if you have questions.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While this medication may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Medications for diabetes, like insulin, glipizide, glyburide
- Medications for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
- Other medications that prolong the QT interval (cause an abnormal heart rhythm)
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
You may need blood work done while you are taking this medication. If you take other medications that can affect heart rhythm, you may need more testing. Talk to your care team if you have questions.
Your vision may be tested before and during use of this medication. Tell your care team right away if you have any change in your eyesight.
This medication may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medication. Contact your care team right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. Or, you might notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
If you or your family notice any changes in your behavior, such as new or worsening depression, thoughts of harming yourself, anxiety, or other unusual or disturbing thoughts, or memory loss, call your care team right away.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Aplastic anemia—unusual weakness or fatigue, dizziness, headache, trouble breathing, increased bleeding or bruising
- Change in vision
- Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, or sore throat
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)—tremors or shaking, anxiety, sweating, cold or clammy skin, confusion, dizziness, rapid heartbeat
- Muscle injury—unusual weakness or fatigue, muscle pain, dark yellow or brown urine, decrease in amount of urine
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet
- Rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes
- Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm, worsening mood, or feelings of depression
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Stomach pain
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store at room temperature up to 30 degrees C (86 degrees F). Protect from light. Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.
To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:
- Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
- If you cannot return the medication, check the label or package insert to see if the medication should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put it in the trash, empty the medication out of the container. Mix the medication with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in a bag or container. Put it in the trash.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
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