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Medications > Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) > Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) – pictopamphlet

HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE (Plaquenil) [hi-drox-ee-CLOR-oh-kwin]

How to use this medication

What is it

Hydroxychloroquine is a medication used to treat different types of arthritis. While taking this medicine it is important to have your eyes checked at least once a year.

Take it every day

This medicine is taken either once or twice a day.


It only comes in 200 mg tablets.  The usual dose is between one and two tablets per day (200 to 400 mg per day).

Be patient

It will take 8 to 12 weeks for the medicine to work. It is important for you to keep taking the medicine.

What you need to do

Get your eyes checked

Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.  This is to make sure the medicine isn’t affecting the back of the eye.

Side effects & important things to know

Nausea & diarrhea

Hydroxychloroquine agrees with most people. Rarely it can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea.

Skin rash

Hydroxychloroquine can rarely cause a rash.  Stop the medicine and let your doctor know if you develop a rash.  This is rare.


Hydroxychloroquine can rarely cause a headache.

Sun sensitive

Hydroxychloroquine can sometimes make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Wear sunscreen.

When should I call my doctor

Please call if you need to stop

  • If you feel sick and want to stop
  • If you are concerned about any side effects
  • If you want to or have already stopped the medicine

Other Reasons to Call your Doctor:


Feeling Sick

Ringing in the ears

Other important information

Stopping Hydroxychloroquine

You can simply stop taking hydroxychloroquine. You do not need to wean off it. Please call your doctor if you stop the medication.