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Over time, other derivatives of quinine were approved by the FDA—chloroquine in and hydroxychloroquine in In rare cases, Plaquenil can cause a problem with blood flow in the eyes that leads to a condition called hydroxychloroquine retinopathy.

If it's not caught early, it's often irreversible and can cause impaired vision or even blindness. If it's caught early and you go off the drug, the problem may be reversible. While you're on this drug, be sure to tell you doctor about any vision changes you notice. Doctors generally recommend regular eye exams, and depending on other risk factors, your doctor may require you to have yearly tests to check for early signs of this serious side effect.

Anyone starting Plaquenil treatment should have a baseline eye exam within the first year. If you're considered low risk, you may not need to be tested for another five years.

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Certain drugs may interact with Plaquenil, affecting how it works or causing it to be less effective. Tell your doctor about every medication and supplement you are taking. If you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant, discuss Plaquenil with your doctors. Though Plaquenil is generally regarded as safe during pregnancy, it's recommended that you use effective birth control while taking the drug and for up to six months after going off of it. Dealing with chronic inflammation? An anti-inflammatory diet can help.

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Our free recipe guide shows you the best foods to fight inflammation. Get yours today! Hydroxychloroquine retinopathy. Eye Lond. Therapy and pharmacological properties of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and related diseases.

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Malar J. Hydroxychloroquine retinopathy: A review of imaging. Indian J Ophthalmol. National Institutes of Health, U. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated February 18, Prescriber's Digital Reference. Hydroxycloroquine sufate - drug summary. Plaquenil: Hydroxychloroquine sufate, USP. For this reason though, it is important that you see an ophthalmologist for an exam before starting to take an anti-malarial medication for your lupus. Follow-up exams every 6 months or, annually at the very least are also advised.

You can also monitor yourself between visits with a special grid called an Amsler grid, which can be obtained through your ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, retinal damage caused by Aralen may be irreversible, but this medication is rarely prescribed anymore for lupus. Do not smoke while taking anti-malarial medications, since smoking actually reduces the benefits of these drugs.

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In fact, people with lupus should not smoke at all due to their increased risk of cardiovascular disease. You should always take your anti-malarial medications with food to prevent stomach upset. If a stomachache does occur, it is usually temporary. However, if you experience stomach upset while taking generic hydroxychloroquine, ask your doctor about trying name-brand Plaquenil instead.

While these medications contain the same active ingredient, the preparation of generic hydroxychloroquine can sometimes cause stomach irritation. This sort of upset usually does not occur with commercial Plaquenil. Lastly, remember that even though you may feel the benefits of anti-malarial therapy after about a month of treatment, it may take up to three months for the full benefits of the drug to manifest. If you experience any serious adverse effects, notify your doctor.

Long-term anti-malarial use is normally safe. However, if you stop taking your anti-malarial drugs, you may experience a lupus flare. Anti-malarial drugs may have additional health benefits for some people. Potential benefits include greater protection from UV light and lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

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These benefits may be especially helpful for people taking steroids. In addition, individuals with antiphospholipid antibodies, such as the lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies, may experience a decreased likelihood of blood clots. If side effects do occur, they are usually minor and last only for a short period of time. All information contained within the Johns Hopkins Lupus Center website is intended for educational purposes only.

Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.

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If you are also taking kaolin or antacids, take them at least 4 hours before or after using hydroxychloroquine. The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label.

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The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so. The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine.

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Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine. If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Do not double doses. Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.