What is Hydroxychloroquine? Full information, usage, benefits and side effects

What is Hydroxychloroquine? Full information, usage, benefits and side effects

Hydroxychloroquine is a medication used to treat and prevent malaria, a mosquito-borne infectious disease. Additionally, it is prescribed for certain autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Hydroxychloroquine belongs to the class of drugs known as antimalarials and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Uses of Hydroxychloroquine:

Hydroxychloroquine is primarily used for:

  • Malaria Prevention and Treatment: It is effective in preventing and treating malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium falciparum.
  • Autoimmune Conditions: Hydroxychloroquine is prescribed to manage symptoms of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

How Hydroxychloroquine Works:

The exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, but Hydroxychloroquine is believed to work by interfering with the function of parasites responsible for malaria and by modulating the immune response in autoimmune conditions.

Benefits of Hydroxychloroquine:

  • Malaria Prevention: Effectively prevents malaria in individuals traveling to malaria-endemic areas.
  • Autoimmune Disease Management: Helps control symptoms and reduce inflammation in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Dosage and Administration:

  • Hydroxychloroquine is commonly available in tablet form for oral administration.
  • Dosage may vary based on the specific condition being treated and individual response.
  • Follow the prescribed dosage and instructions provided by healthcare professionals.

Side Effects of Hydroxychloroquine:

While generally well-tolerated, Hydroxychloroquine may cause side effects, including:

  • Common effects: Nausea, headache, and stomach cramps.
  • Less common effects: Vision changes, skin rash, and muscle weakness.
  • Report any severe or persistent side effects to a healthcare professional.

Precautions:

  • Inform healthcare providers about existing medical conditions or medications.
  • Regular eye examinations may be recommended to monitor for potential vision changes.

Interactions:

  • Hydroxychloroquine may interact with certain medications, including antacids and other medications that affect the heart rhythm.
  • Inform healthcare providers about all over-the-counter and prescription medications being taken.

Warnings:

  • Eye toxicity: Regular eye examinations are crucial to detect and prevent potential vision changes.
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities: Caution is advised in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.

It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice before using Hydroxychloroquine or any medication.

References:

Author: Nikita Vishnoi BCA

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