How Aralen Works

It is not well understood why Aralen helps treat autoimmune diseases like lupus and many types of arthritis. It is thought that Aralen interferes with how cells in the immune system communicate with each other.

Side Effects of Aralen

Aralen is a very well tolerated medication and most patients have no side-effects at all.

MORE COMMON side-effects include:

  • Mild nausea, loss of appetite, and occasional stomach cramps.
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild blurry vision at first

RARE side-effects include:

  • Skin rashes including a blue/black discolouration of the skin and worsening of psoriasis. Heightened sensitivity to the sun
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Nervousness, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Damage to the Eyes – Aralen can very rarely build up in the back of the eye (retina). Patients should get their eyes checked by an eye doctor every year to make sure the medicine isn’t affecting the back of the eye. The most common symptoms of this side effect are difficulty reading or seeing (words, letters, or parts of objects may be missing) or blurred vision. The toxicity to the retina seems to be related to the daily dose of medication.

How to minimize the side-effects of Aralen:

  • Patients should get their eyes checked by an eye doctor every year.

Patients should tell their doctor if they are concerned about any side effects.

Who Should NOT Take Aralen

People who should NOT be taking Aralen include:

  • People who have had a previous reaction to Aralen (chloroquine)
  • People who have had eye problems as a result of Aralen

When to Call a Doctor

People taking Aralen should call their doctor if they feel sick and want to stop, or if they are concerned about any side effects.

Other reasons to call a doctor while taking Aralen include:

  • Development of a rash
  • Feeling sick
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Aralen Video

Watch Dr. Andy Thompson, a Canadian rheumatologist, introduce Aralen.