Hydroxychloroquine is a Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug (DMARD) that is widely used to reduce inflammation (pain and swelling) in the treatment of many types of arthritis and lupus.
Hydroxychloroquine is also known as a treatment for malaria, a blood-borne parasite spread by mosquitoes in many tropical and sub-tropical environments.
Hydroxychloroquine is available in 200 mg oral tablets. The usual dose is between one and two tablets per day (200 to 400 mg per day).
When Hydroxychloroquine works, most patients start to feel improvement after 8-12 weeks. The maximum effect can take 6-12 months.
When patients start Hydroxychloroquine, doctors usually have them try it for 3 months before they assess the patient to determine if it is working. If it isn't working at all after this time then it is usually stopped.
Important Tests and Risks
Hydroxychloroquine is considered to be pretty safe, but it can rarely damage the eyes. Patients that take Hydroxychloroquine should have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the medication isn't affecting the retina at the back of each eye.
Watch Canadian rheumatologist Dr. Andy Thompson introduce Hydroxychloroquine in this short video: