( hydroxychloroquine )
200 mg white, scored, round tablet
To reduce inflammation and retard
disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis; to reduce disease activity in
systemic lupus erythematosus.
Rheumatoid arthritis and systemic
One to two tablets ( 200 to 400
mg ) per day.
This is the best tolerated of all
drugs used for rheumatoid arthritis, and side effects are unusual. With a
very few people, gastric upset or muscular weakness may result.
Consideration needs to be given to the possibility of eye toxicity, which is
an occasional complication of anti-malarial drugs. This is a rare
complication and appears to be always reversible if the patient is monitored
with periodic eye examinations after the first year of treatment.
Plaquenil takes six weeks to
begin to show an effetc, and full effect can take up to twelve weeks, so
plan on at least a twelve-month trial. The eye complications appear to be
much less common with Plaquenil than with chloroquine, the anti-malarial
drug that used to be sued most often. They seldom if ever are seen with less
than one year of treatment at recommended dosage. Bright sunlight seems to
increase the frequency of eye damage, so we recommend using sunglasses and
wide-brimmed hats for sun protection. we recommend eye examinations after
one year of continuous treatment and at six-month intervals thereafter. This
should give ample warning of any problems. Do not exceed two tablets daily.
Since the drug is so well tolerated, both tablets may be taken together in
the morning. The good effects of this drug are long-lasting, and continue
for weeks or months after the drug is stopped. Overall, this is the safest
drug available for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus; it should be
used with respect but not fear.