Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®)

What is Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil®)?

Hydroxychloroquine is used in the treatment of arthritis to help relieve inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain and also to help control the symptoms of lupus erythematosus (lupus; SLE). A common brand name for hydroxychloroquine is Plaquenil®. This medicine was originally used to prevent and to treat malaria.

How do I take it?

Hydroxychloroquine is usually taken twice daily. The pills are 200-mg. each. The usual dose is 1 or 2 pills daily. This medicine should be taken at the same time every day. It will take 1 to 2 months to begin working. Follow your doctor’s directions. Do not take more or less medicine than ordered. This medicine should be taken with food or milk.

What else should I know?

Rarely, Hydroxychloroquine can cause vision problems. Your doctor may want you to have an eye exam before beginning this medication. You will then have an eye exam yearly with an ophthalmologist to check for any changes in the back of the eye. Notify your doctor if you experience any blurred vision or see black spots.

What about other medications?

When you are taking Hydroxychloroquine, it is very important that your doctors know if you are taking any other medicine. This includes prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as birth control pills, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Hydroxychloroquine can be taken with other medications – NSAIDS (Celebrex®, Vioxx®, ibuprofen, naproxen), prednisone, Enbrel®.

Updated: April 25, 2012

Victoria Ruffing, RN

About Victoria Ruffing, RN

Ms. Ruffing has been a member of the Arthritis Center since 2000, currently serving as the Nurse Manager. She is a critical member of our patient care team.