Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine
Information on chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and COVID-19 can be found here:
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are FDA-approved drugs used to prevent and treat certain types of malaria. They have a long elimination half-life of 30–45 days, allowing for weekly dosing when used in prevention of malaria, and a short 48-hour treatment course when used to treat malaria. These drugs are generally well tolerated at doses used for malaria but may cause pruritis and exacerbate psoriasis. With frequent dosing, rarely reported adverse events include retinopathy and cardiac arrhythmias (QT prolongation specifically) in those with liver or kidney dysfunction. Exceeding recommended doses of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can lead to death, and fatal overdoses have been reported. Hydroxychloroquine is also FDA approved for use in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis. These drugs are available by prescription only.
Hydroxychloroquine is used to prevent or treat malaria caused by mosquito bites. The United States Center for Disease Control provides updated guidelines and travel recommendations for the prevention and treatment of malaria in different parts of the world. Discuss the most recent information with your doctor before traveling to areas where malaria occurs.
This medication is also used to treat certain auto-immune diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis). It belongs to a class of medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). It can reduce skin problems in lupus and prevent swelling/pain in arthritis.
How to use Hydroxychloroquine SULFATE
Take this medication by mouth, usually with food to prevent stomach upset, exactly as directed by your doctor. The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, dosage is also based on weight.
To prevent malaria, take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once a week on the same day each week. Mark a calendar to help you remember. This drug is usually started 1 to 2 weeks before entering the malarious area. Continue to take it weekly while in the area and for 4 to 8 weeks after leaving the area, or as directed by your doctor. To treat malaria, follow your doctor’s instructions.
For lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once or twice daily. Your doctor may gradually increase your dose. Once you have been taking the medication for a while and your condition has improved, your doctor may instruct you to lower your dose until you find the dose that works best with the fewest side effects.
If you are also taking a certain drug for diarrhea (kaolin) or taking antacids (such as magnesium/aluminum hydroxide), take hydroxychloroquine at least 4 hours before or after these products. These products may bind with hydroxychloroquine, preventing your body from fully absorbing it.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. If you are taking it on a daily schedule, take it at the same time(s) each day. Take this medication exactly as prescribed. Do not stop taking it without talking with your doctor, especially if you are taking it for malaria. It is important to continue taking this for the length of time prescribed. Stopping prevention or treatment too soon may lead to infection or a return of the infection.
Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse. It may take several weeks or months to see improvement if you are taking this for lupus or arthritis. Hydroxychloroquine may not prevent malaria in all cases. If you experience fever or other symptoms of illness, get medical help right away (especially while in the malarious area and for 2 months after returning from the area). You may need a different medication. Avoid exposure to mosquitoes. (See also Notes section.