What hydroxychloroquine sulfate is and what it is used for
Hydroxychloroquine sulfate works by reducing inflammation in people with autoimmune diseases (this is where the body’s immune system attacks itself by mistake).
It can be used for:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints)
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (in children)
- Discoid and systemic lupus erythematosus (a disease of the skin or the internal organs)
- Skin problems which are sensitive to sunlight
What you need to know before you take hydroxychloroquine sulfate
Do not take hydroxychloroquine sulfate if:
- You are allergic (hypersensitive) to:
- Any of the other ingredients of hydroxychloroquine sulfate. Signs of allergic reaction include: a rash, swallowing or breathing problems, swelling of your lips, face, throat or tongue.
- You have an eye problem which affects the retina, the inside of the eye (maculopathy) or you get a change in eye colour or any other eye problem.
Do not take this medicine if any of the above apply to you. If you are not sure, talk to your doctor or a PillDoctor pharmacist before taking hydroxychloroquine sulfate.
Warnings and precautions
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking hydroxychloroquine sulfate if:
- You have liver or kidney problems.
- You have serious stomach or gut problems.
- You have heart problems.
- You have any problems with your blood. You may have blood tests to check this.
- You have any problems with your nervous system or brain.
- You have psoriasis (red scaly patches on the skin usually affecting the knees, elbows and scalp).
- You have had a bad reaction to quinine in the past.
- You have a genetic condition known as ‘glucose-6-dehydrogenase deficiency’.
- You have a rare illness called ‘porphyria’ which affects your metabolism.
- You are taking any medicines known to cause damage to the eyes (such as tamoxifen).
Before treatment with hydroxychloroquine sulfate
- Before you take this medicine you should have your eyes examined.
- This testing should be repeated at least every 12 months whilst taking hydroxychloroquine sulfate.
- If you are over 65, need to take a high dose (2 tablets a day) or have kidney problems then this examination should be performed more often.
- Hydroxychloroquine can cause lowering of blood glucose level. Please ask your doctor to inform you of signs and symptoms of low blood glucose levels. A check of the blood glucose level may be necessary.
If you are not sure if any of the above applies to you, talk to your doctor or a pharmacist before taking hydroxychloroquine sulfate.
Other medicines and hydroxychloroquine sulfate
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines. This includes medicines you buy without a prescription, including herbal medicines. This is because hydroxychloroquine sulfate can affect the way some other medicines work. Also some medicines can affect the way hydroxychloroquine sulfate works.
In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
The following medicines may increase the chance of you getting side effects when taken with hydroxychloroquine sulfate:
- Some antibiotics used for infections (such as gentamicin, neomycin or tobramycin).
- Cimetidine — used for stomach ulcers.
- Neostigmine and pyridostigmine — used for muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis).
- Medicines that may affect the kidneys or liver.
- Medicines that affect the skin.
- Medicines that affect the eyes (such as tamoxifen).
- Halofantrine, mefloquine — used for malaria.
- Amiodarone — used for heart problems.
- Moxifloxacin — used to treat infections.
- Medicines used for epilepsy.