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Hydroxychloroquine: what it is for, doses and side effects

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Hydroxychloroquine is a drug indicated for the treatment of malaria, and it increases the action of the body’s defense cells, fighting parasites plasmodium vivax, plasmodium malariahey Plasmodium falciparumwho are responsible for the illness.

In addition, hydroxychloroquine also has immunomodulatory action, reducing inflammation in the organism, which is why it is also indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, skin and rheumatic diseases.

Hydroxychloroquine or hydroxychloroquine sulfate can be purchased under a medical prescription, in pharmacies or drugstores, being found under the names Plaquinol, Plaquenil, Evoquin or Dolquine, for example, and should always be used with the guidance of a doctor.



what is it for

Hydroxychloroquine destroys microorganisms P. vivaxof P. malariae and P. falciparum, which are the parasites responsible for the transmission of malaria. This medicine also has immunomodulatory action, decreasing the inflammation of the organism.

Due to its properties, hydroxychloroquine is indicated to treat the following situations:

  • Malaria;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus;
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome;
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus.

In addition, hydroxychloroquine can also be indicated for the treatment of skin diseases, such as dermatitis and polymorphic light eruption, a hereditary disease that produces intense onset and small lesions, in addition to red plaques in the pecho, arms, hands, legs and after exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

The hydroxychloroquine tablets must be taken orally, with food or a bottle of milk, according to medical advice. The dose and time of use of this medication depends on the type of problem to be treated and includes:



1. Systemic and discoid lupus erythematosus

The initial dose of hydroxychloroquine to treat lupus in adults ranges from 400 to 800 mg per day and the maintenance dose ranges from 200 to 400 mg per day, which help to alleviate some symptoms of the illness, such as sensitivity to light, hair fall, spots on the skin and pain in the joints. Find out about other treatments indicated for lupus.

2. Rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis

For the treatment with hydroxychloroquine of rheumatoid arthritis in adults, the initial dose normally recommended is from 400 to 600 mg per day and the maintenance dose is from 200 to 400 mg per day, which helps to alleviate the pain and inflammation of the joints, improving the quality of life. Know the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and see how the treatment is carried out.

For juvenile chronic arthritis, the maximum recommended use is 6.5 mg/kg of body weight per day, up to a maximum daily dose of 400 mg, which must be used with pediatrician guidance.

3. Photosensitive diseases

For the treatment of photosensitive diseases in the skin that may arise or worsen with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, such as polymorphic light eruption and sun allergy, the recommended dose is 400 mg/day and the dose is reduced to 200 mg on the day of accompaniment to the orientation of the doctor. The indication is to start the treatment a few days before the sun exposure.

4. Malaria/malaria

The doses of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of malaria depend on the phase of the illness, which include:

  • suppressive treatment: in adults, the recommended dose is one tablet of 400 mg, once a week. In children, the indication is 6.5 mg/kg of body weight, once a week. When it is possible, the suppressor treatment must be started 2 weeks before the exposure to the areas of greater risk. If it is not possible, it may be necessary to administer an initial dose of 800 mg in adults and 12.9 mg/kg in children, divided into two doses with a 6-hour interval, according to the advice of the doctor . The treatment must continue for 8 weeks after leaving the endemic area.
  • Treatment of the acute crisis: in adults, the initial dose is 800 mg followed by 400 mg after 6 to 8 hours and 400 mg daily for 2 consecutive days, another alternative is a single dose of 800 mg. In children, a first dose of 12.9 mg/kg (without exceeding 800 mg) and a second dose of 6.5 mg/kg (without exceeding 400 mg) should be administered, six hours after the first dose, a third 6.5 mg/kg dose, 18 hours after the second dose and a fourth dose of 6.5 mg/kg, 24 hours after the third dose.

Treatment with hydroxychloroquine must be carried out under medical supervision, especially for children, so that the dose is correctly calculated according to the child’s weight.

Can hydroxychloroquine be used for the treatment of COVID-19?

According to the WHO [1]the use of hydroxychloroquine in the reduction of the time of internment, nor the risk of death or serious infection, as it is not indicated to fight or prevent COVID-19.

In addition, hydroxychloroquine increases the risk of secondary effects such as vomiting and diarrhea, which can cause a decrease in blood volume and a reduction in blood pressure, which increases the risk of kidney problems or heart failure.

The WHO advises against the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 and its sale is only available through a medical prescription and for the treatment of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

The most common side effects that can occur with the use of this medication are loss of appetite, mood swings, headache, blurred vision, seas, stomach ache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes on skin and stomach.

In addition, in more rare cases, these drugs can also cause more serious reactions, such as vision problems, hypoglycemia, tachycardia, arrhythmia, mental health problems, such as anxiety, hallucinations and depression.

Hydroxychloroquine should not be used by people with hypersensitivity to any of the components present in the formula, with pre-existing retinopathies or those under 6 years of age. Nor should it be used in people with psoriasis or myasthenia gravis.

Those people who are being treated with insulin, oral hypoglycemic agents, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antiepileptics and drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, antacids, for example, should inform their doctor before starting the use of hydroxychloroquine, as these drugs may interact, reducing or increasing its effects.

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Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

Content for educational purposes only

The translator user relied on the following text:

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Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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