Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) Overview

What is Plaquenil and How Does it Work?

Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is an antimalarial, treating acute malarial attacks. It is also used to help lupus patients, primarily those with discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, a condition related to lupus. Doctors may prescribe it alone or in conjunction with other medications.

Taking Plaquenil:

Generally speaking, plaquenil comes in tablet form.

Lupus patients often take one or two tablets daily. Dosage varies by patient. Your doctor will determine your regimen.

What are Possible Side Effects of Plaquenil?

Contact your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • upset stomach
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • skin rash

What are Side Effects of Plaquenil?

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience the following symptoms:

  • reading or seeing difficulties (words, letters or parts of objects missing)
  • light sensitivity
  • blurred distance vision
  • seeing light flashes or streaks
  • difficulty hearing
  • ringing in ears
  • muscle weakness
  • bleeding or bruising of the skin
  • bleaching or loss of hair
  • mood or mental changes
  • irregular heartbeat
  • drowsiness
  • convulsions

Those who take plaquenil for an extended period of time will most likely need regular eye exams, as the drug occasionally causes vision problems.

If you experience vision problems while taking plaquenil, you will likely be advised to stop taking the drug and contact your doctor immediately.

Speaking with your healthcare provider about plaquenil, or any other medicine or treatment you are undergoing, will help you determine the best ways to decrease your chances of experiencing side effects or developing other diseases or conditions.

Is Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) Known By Another Name?



  • Hydroxychloroquine. National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health. November 2008.

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