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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Hydroxychloroquine Adult

Hydroxychloroquine - What is it for

Hydroxychloroquine belongs to a class of medicines called disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). DMARDs reduce symptoms such as pain and swelling and slow down the progress of certain autoimmune diseases (disease where the body's natural defence system attacks own body cells) such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Sjögren syndrome

Hydroxychloroquine - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Hydroxychloroquine cause?

  • Nausea, vomiting and stomach upset (Can be minimized by taking Hydroxychloroquine after food or with milk)
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Hair changes (Bleaching or thinning of hair)
  • Transient blurring of vision (This usually resolves spontaneously in one to two weeks).

Majority of these effects tend to resolve spontaneously.

Your doctor also may suggest regular eye exams while taking this medication. Visual changes experienced early on or seen early during regular eye exams usually improve after stopping the medication.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately

What are some rare but serious side effects that you need to seek medical advice immediately?
Eye problem:
  • Damage to the retina (cell layer at the back of the eye) may occur. Affected persons may notice blurring or loss of vision especially the centre part of an object or word, flashing light and colour deficit specifically red objects.
  • This eye problem are more likely to occur in persons with risk factors such as in those taking high doses for many years or in those with severe kidney disease. Nowadays, the dose used is lower (less than 5 mg/kg actual body weight/day) than it was originally used to treat diseases, hence, development of eye problem while taking this medicine is extremely unusual.
  • In addition, this risk is greatly reduced by regular eye check-up and following the doctor's instruction on daily dosage. Any eye changes experienced and reported early or recognised early during regular eye check-up usually improve after stopping the medicine.

Before taking Hydroxychloroquine , what precautions must I follow?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding (remove if not needed)
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You have G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency or porphyria (group of diseases in which substances called porphyrins build up, negatively affecting the skin or nervous system), as Hydroxychloroquine may not be suitable for you.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Hydroxychloroquine ?

​Hydroxychloroquine may interact with other medicine or supplement that you are taking. Inform the doctor, pharmacist or specialty nurse (such as dermatology or rheumatology) before starting any medicines and supplements.

Your doctor may reduce your dose when taken with medicines such as Tamoxifen (a medicine to treat breast cancer), as they might increase the chance of you experiencing severe side effects.

Hydroxychloroquine - Dosage and How to Use

How should Hydroxychloroquine be used?

  • The usual dose is to be taken by mouth, usually once or twice daily.
  • The tablet is taken after food,
  • Do not stop taking your medication without checking with your healthcare professional.
  • You may start to see improvement within a few weeks, but it may take up to several months to experience its full benefit.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose. 

What should I do if I overdose?

Hydroxychloroquine - Handling

How should I handle Hydroxychloroquine safely?

Hydroxychloroquine - Storage

How should I store Hydroxychloroquine ?

;#Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#Store at room temperature;#

How should I dispose of Hydroxychloroquine safely?

Hydroxychloroquine - Additional Information

  • Updated on 12/31/2022 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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