Hydroxychloroquine is used in the prevention and treatment of malaria, a disease characterized by chills, fever and sweating that is passed from one person to another by a mosquito bite.
This medicine is also used to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (autoimmune disease that causes inflammation) and rheumatoid arthritis (joint inflammation).
Hydroxychloroquine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Take Hydroxychloroquine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take this medicine together with food or with a glass of milk. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Hydroxychloroquine must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take Hydroxychloroquine if you have a history of allergic reactions (swollen eyes or mouth, difficulty breathing, rashes) to this medicine or any similar medicine such as chloroquine or primaquine.
Alert your doctor if you have an abnormality in the retina (nerve layer at the back of the eye) or visual field.
Hydroxychloroquine should not be given to children for long term treatment. Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to a child.
Inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- kidney disease
- liver disease or alcoholism (alcohol abuse/dependence)
- blood disorder
- psoriasis (red, itchy and scaly skin disorder)
- porphyria (inherited disorder that may cause skin or nerve problem)
- G6PD deficiency (an inherited blood disorder that affects the red blood cell)
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
For as long as you are taking this medicine, you may need to have regular blood test, liver function and muscle strength test to check your body’s response to the medicine. You should have your examined before taking this medicine and thereafter depending on your doctor’s advice.
Hydroxychloroquine may cause dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, ringing in the ears, rash, nausea, diarrhoea, stomach pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, and muscle weakness.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- difficulty breathing, swelling of the eyelids, lips,face, throat or tongue
- fever with persistent sore throat or mouth ulcers, unusual bleeding or bruising
- eye problems e.g. changes in the colour of your eye, blurring of vision, sensitivity to light
- yellowing of eyes or skin
- rashes with skin peeling or blisters / rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for heart disease e.g. digoxin
- medicines for stomach ulcer e.g. cimetidine
- medicines for muscle weakness e.g. neostigmine, pyridostigmine
- medicines for diabetes e.g. insulin, metformin
This does not include all medicines that may interact with Hydroxychloroquine.
Always inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.