Plaquenil: Uses – Side Effects – Warnings

Plaquenil: Uses – Side Effects – Warnings Medicine

Plaquenil, also known as hydroxychloroquine, is a prescription medication used to treat various conditions such as malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is an immunosuppressive agent that modulates the immune system to decrease inflammation. However, like any other medication, Plaquenil has its benefits, side effects, and warnings.

Uses

Plaquenil is an antimalarial drug that is also used to treat autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It works by suppressing the immune system to prevent inflammation and damage to the tissues. Plaquenil is also used to treat inflammatory conditions affecting the skin and eyes such as photodermatitis and keratitis. It may also be used to prevent or treat certain types of parasitic infections.

Benefits

Plaquenil has proven to be beneficial in treating various conditions. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus often present with inflammation, joint pain, and joint stiffness. Plaquenil has shown to reduce inflammation, improve joint mobility, and reduce the need for other medications such as corticosteroids. It has also been shown to improve skin lesions, reduce fatigue, and improve the overall quality of life in patients with autoimmune diseases.

Plaquenil is also beneficial as a prophylactic treatment in areas with high incidences of malaria. It is effective in preventing malaria and reducing the severity of symptoms if contracted. This medication is also used to treat parasitic infections such as amebiasis and giardiasis.

Side Effects

Like all medications, Plaquenil may cause side effects. The common side effects include nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache. These side effects are usually mild and resolve on their own. However, if they persist or become severe, you should contact your doctor for a review.

Less common side effects include skin rashes, dizziness, muscle weakness, blurred vision, hearing loss, and hair color changes. These side effects may be more severe and require immediate medical attention.

In rare cases, Plaquenil may cause serious side effects such as heart problems, liver damage, and blood disorders. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

– Chest pain or irregular heartbeat
– Yellowing of the skin or eyes
– Unexplained weight loss or fatigue
– Blood in the urine or stool
– Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Warnings

Plaquenil should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor and according to the prescribed dosage. It should not be used during pregnancy unless recommended by a doctor. Plaquenil is excreted in breast milk, and therefore, breastfeeding women should avoid taking this medication.

Patients with a history of cardiac arrhythmia, liver or kidney disease, or blood disorders should inform their doctor before taking Plaquenil. This medication may interact with other drugs, and therefore, patients should inform their doctor of any other medication they are taking.

Plaquenil may affect vision, and therefore, regular eye checks are essential when taking this medication. Patients with a history of retinal diseases, macular degeneration, or vision-related issues should discuss their medical history with their doctor.

FAQs

1. How long does Plaquenil take to work?

Ans: Plaquenil takes several weeks to start working, and its full effect may take up to six months.

2. Can I drink alcohol while taking Plaquenil?

Ans: It is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking Plaquenil as it can increase the risk of liver damage.

3. Can Plaquenil cause weight gain?

Ans: Plaquenil may cause weight loss in some patients, but weight gain is not a common side effect.

4. Can I take Plaquenil with other medications?

Ans: Plaquenil may interact with other medications, and therefore, you should inform your doctor of any other medication you are taking.

5. Can Plaquenil cause vision problems?

Ans: Plaquenil may cause vision problems, and therefore, regular eye checks are essential when taking this medication. If you experience vision-related symptoms, you should inform your doctor immediately.

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