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Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug used to treat malaria. It is caused by a parasite entering the human body through a mosquito bite. The drug kills the infection-causing parasite. In addition, this drug is not effective against all strains of malaria or strains that are resistant to the drug chloroquine. Also, it is used to treat lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, though the beneficial effects of this drug are not fully understood. However, the research findings claim that the drug affects the immune system the way it works, which benefits the disease control of lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Side effects of Hydroxychloroquine 400mg tablet
Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription medicine, and your doctor prescribed it, considering its benefits compared with the side effects. The following are the most common side effects, and medication may not have serious side effects when used as advised by your doctor.
- stomach ache
- loss of appetite
There are some severe side effects, do seek medical help or call your doctor when you have any of the following
- Reduced or abnormal heart rate
- Swelling in ankle and feet
- Sudden weight gain
- Anxiety attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Hearing loss or hearing changes like ringing in the ears
- Sore throat
- Severe hair loss
- Skin discoloration
- Nails discoloration
- Also, this medication lowers blood sugar levels causing symptoms like sweating, shaking, hunger, blurred vision, and dizziness. If you are a diabetic patient, check your blood sugar levels regularly and update your doctor to adjust the medication keeping your condition in mind.
- The long-term use of the medicine may lead to vision problems like blurred vision, sensitivity to light, vision changes, and difficulty in reading. Talk to your doctor if you have these severe eye problems.
- And, very rarely, this drug may cause allergic reactions, do seek medical help when you find anything, including rashes, skin itching, swelling in the face, tongue, and throat.
The above list is some of the most common and severe side effects; if you find anything other than in the list, seek medical help immediately.
Precautions while taking Hydroxycholorquine 400mg tablet
- Hydroxychloroquine 400mg contains an inactive ingredient that causes allergic reactions. Hence, let your doctor know if you are allergic to chloroquine medication or find symptoms like skin rashes, itching, skin discoloration, and swelling in the face and tongue.
- This drug may interact with specific enzymes, which causes an enzyme-related disorder glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD). Let your doctor know if you are on medication for enzyme-linked problems, kidney or liver diseases.
- Consuming alcohol causes liver problems, and marijuana causes cancer. These are known facts. Hydroxychloroquine medication causes dizziness and drinking alcohol or marijuana while on medication is unsafe and not advisable. Also, it is better to be away from driving and machinery while you are on this drug.
- Hydroxychloroquine 400mg tends to cause skin sensitivity. Therefore, limiting being in the sun is better, and wearing sunscreen and moisturizers when outdoors.
- This drug causes irregular heartbeats and rhythm changes. Hence seek medical help if you find a slow heartbeat and let your doctor know your family history of heart-related issues.
- It is not harmful to pregnant women but can be used when needed and as prescribed by the doctor.
- Hydroxychloroquine 400mg, when taken, is proven to pass through the breast milk, so be cautious about consulting your doctor before taking this medication.
- Kidneys process this drug, and elderly patients with kidney dysfunction may not process this drug leading to the increased risk of side effects, including vision damage. Therefore, the doctor may require more frequent eye exams to look for the side effects of vision damage.
- Keep this drug reaching out to children as it could be dangerous to them by accidentally swallowing, which can lead to death.
Hydroxychloroquine interactions with other drugs
- Drug interactions may increase the risk of symptoms and side effects. However, we don’t know when and how the drug interacts with others and can change how the medication works. So, it is better to list out the medicines or supplements, or herbs you are on to with your doctor before starting the prescribed medication to adjust the dosage as needed.
- Below is not the complete list of drugs that interact with Hydroxychloroquine but are some examples to note.
- Hydroxychloroquine and digoxin increase digoxin levels, leading to irregular heartbeats or heart problems causing heart arrhythmias. Unfortunately, it also interacts with amiodarone, chlorpromazine, and clarithromycin
- When taken along with insulin, Hydroxychloroquine decreases blood sugar levels leading to hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, it also interacts with other diabetic drugs like chlorpropamide, glipizide, glimepiride, glyburide, and repaglinide.
- Hydroxychloroquine, along with other malarial drugs, increases the risk of seizures.
The dosage information depends on your age, the condition you are treated, disease severity, how you react to the first dose, and the family history of medication and other diseases.
Seek medical help when overdosed with Hydroxychloroquine 400mg and experience trouble breathing or breathlessness. Also, symptoms may include fainting, seizure attack, and heart stroke. And when taking this medication for more extended periods, keep all your diagnosis analyses for your doctor to know more about your condition
If you are prescribed this medication to treat malaria, use it as prescribed for a limited period. Do not continue this medication to prevent or treat other medicines without your doctor’s suggestion.
If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is time for the next dose, then skip it. Don’t try to make up for the missed dose.
How to use Hydroxychloroquine 400mg tablet?
Take this medication as directed by the doctor exactly to get the benefit. The dosage information and treatment period depend on your condition, infection treated, and response to the drug. Do not stop or shorten or extend the treatment and dosage without your doctor’s knowledge. And let your doctor know when your condition worsens or gets better.
- When used to prevent malaria, follow your doctor’s instructions and take it whole by swallowing with water as crunching or biting may cause a bitter taste. This medication is prescribed once a week. However, it is better to take it simultaneously every week for 4 to 8 weeks.
- For rheumatoid arthritis, this drug is prescribed once or twice daily. Please take it as suggested by the doctor, as your doctor may lower the dose once your condition is improving.
- If this medication is used to treat diarrhea, take it with four hours gap as the antacids interact with this drug, preventing it from getting absorbed completely.
Your doctor may ask for follow-up tests to ensure that you benefit from the medicine compared with the side effects. The tests may include
- Eye test – require an eye examination to check for vision changes or eye-related problems.
- Reflex test – to check for muscle weakness when suggested for extended periods.
- Blood sugar test – To check for blood sugar levels
- Heart test – to monitor your heart rate and rhythm.
How to store Hydroxychloroquine 400mg?
Store this medicine in a cool and dry place. Keep it out of reach for children and don’t use the expiry medicines. Check for the valid dates before taking this medication.
What is Hydroxychloroquine 400mg used?
Hydroxychloroquine 400mg is prescribed to treat
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Idiopathic arthritis in children
- Lupus erythematosus
- Skin problems
Should certain foods be avoided while taking Hydroxychloroquine 400mg?
No, as such, there is no information available. Please get in touch with your doctor.
Does using Hydroxychloroquine cause mood swings or emotional liability?
Causing emotional liability or mood swings is one of the side effects of Hydroxychloroquine. The patient may show sudden and exaggerated changes in mood with poorly controlled emotions. It may sometimes lead to nightmares, psychosis, and suicidal behavior.
How will I know that Hydroxychloroquine 400mg is working?
- When you are treated for rheumatoid arthritis, you will know that the drug is working by reduced inflammation and joint pains, and you get better within the stipulated period.
- If you are treated for lupus erythematosus, you can say that the drug is working on you with less joint swelling, reduced pain, and fewer lupus-related rashes. In addition, you will be able to move around within a stipulated period.
- If you take this medicine to treat malaria, then your fever should go away with less vomiting and diarrhea.
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Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus (SLE), Type 2 diabetes
10 tablets in 1 strip