DISEASE-MODIFYING ANTIRHEUMATIC DRUG (DMARD)
Plaquenil is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Plaquenil is sometimes prescribed to treat inflammation in people with psoriatic arthritis. Plaquenil is also known by its drug name, hydroxychloroquine.
Plaquenil should be used with caution in people with skin symptoms of psoriasis, since it can cause a severe flare-up. Plaquenil may not be appropriate for people with certain vision conditions or a known hypersensitivity to related drugs. Plaquenil should not be used long-term by children.
Plaquenil is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) originally developed to treat malaria. Plaquenil is believed to work by interfering in communication between the cells of the immune system.
How do I take it?
You may need to see an ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) for a checkup before beginning to take Plaquenil. While taking Plaquenil, you should return to the ophthalmologist for exams every three months to check for side effects relating to your vision.
Plaquenil is taken orally once or twice a day. Always take Plaquenil with food. Your symptoms may begin to improve within one or two months of starting Plaquenil. However, some people do not show signs of improving until they have been taking Plaquenil for six months.
Do not smoke while taking Plaquenil. Smoking can reduce the benefits Plaquenil provides.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Plaquenil.
In people with skin symptoms of psoriasis, Plaquenil can trigger severe flare-ups. Other side effects from Plaquenil are rare, but may include nausea, stomach cramps, dizziness, headaches, and diarrhea. These side effects often decrease over time.
Plaquenil can cause serious eye problems, especially if taken at high doses or for longer than five years.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience vision changes, seizures, mood changes, fast heartbeat, hair loss or hair color change, or pain in the arms, legs, or back while taking Plaquenil.
Rarely, Plaquenil can also cause allergic reactions. Get medical help immediately if you experience difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips, or tongue.
For more information about this treatment, visit:
Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) — American College of Rheumatology
Plaquenil — RxList