Hydroxychloroquine was first developed as an antimalarial drug, to both prevent and treat malaria in certain areas. However, it was also discovered that it could help with certain autoimmune conditions to reduce inflammation and pain in a different way to NSAIDs.
Hydroxycloroquine is a fairly old medication, with it first being approved for medical use in the USA in 1955.
Hydroxychloroquine is also known by the names of branded versions of the drug, palquenil, and Quinoric. Both of these brands contain hydroxychloroquine as their active ingredient, and do the same job as the generic medication.
Hydroxychloroquine tablets might not be sutiable for everybody, as it may make certain conditions worse. If you have any of the following conditions, please speak to your GP before you buy hydroxychloroquine, as it might not be safe for you to take:
- Pregnant or breast feeding
- Any liver or kidney problems
- Serious stomach or gut problems
- Heart problems
- Issues with your nervous system or pain
- Previous bad reaction to quinine
- Glucose-6-dehydrogenase deficiency
- Any eye problems
Hydroxychloroquine has several uses, ass it can treat and prevent a range of different conditions.
Despite being developed as a drug to prevent malaria, it’s also been found to have a positive effect on various autoimmune diseases such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Discoid & systemic lupus erythematosus
- Skin problems that are photosensitive
In the modern day, hydroxychloroquine is used more often for autoimmune conditions than it is for the treatment or prevention of malaria. This is because of the way the drug works in the body to relieve symptoms such as pain and inflammation, as well as rashes that are associated with lupus.
Hydroxychloroquine can be used in patients with discoid and systemic lupus erythematosus. It works within the immune system to help with relieving symptoms such as inflammation and skin rashes, which are widely associated with the condition.
If you have lupus, and think that hydroxychloroquine would be useful for you, you should speak to your own GP about the potential benefits. You may need to take other medications alongside hydroxychloroquine to experience maximum benefit, but it may improve your quality of life and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Hydroxychloroquine is sometimes still used as an antimalarial in certain areas. It works by stopping the parasite that carries malaria from affecting your blood and making you unwell. However, newer antimalarial drugs tend to be a preferred treatment, as hydroxychloroquine can only protect against some strains of malaria, including:
- Some strains of p.falciparum
To make sure that you’re taking the most effective antimalarial, you should check which strains are most active in the area that you’re due to travel to. If you’re still unsure, you should ask your GP for advice on which medication would be best for you to take for the area/s you plan to visit. Other antimalarials available from Doctor4U include:
- Maloff protect
Hydroxychloroquine rheumatoid arthritis
In the modern age, hydroxychloroquine is more commonly used to help with treating rheumatoid arthritis than any other condition, and is a valuable medication to many that suffer with the autoimmune disease.
For rheumatoid arthritis, hydroxychloroquine tablets work to relieve pain and inflammation, but in a different way to traditional painkillers and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or celecoxib.
Unfortunately, the way that it works in your body can mean that it could take up to 12 weeks for hydroxychloroquine tablets to start making a difference, but it cn be used alongside other treatments for you to experience the maximum benefit.
Hydroxychloroquine tablets alter the way in which cells in the immune system talk to each other, meaning that it reduces the immune system’s excessive response, and therefore your symptoms of pain and inflammation.
Hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work by blocking the effects of prostaglandins like many NSAID medications, but it does work within the immune system to reduce the response that causes flare ups and pain. Because of this, it is also known as a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) a well as an antimalarial.
You shouldn’t stop taking this medication in the first 3 months if you aren’t feeling any benefit to it, as it can take this long for you to notice any reduction in symptoms. Likewise, you shouldn’t stop taking it if you feel better, as hydroxychloroquine needs to be taken regularly so that it can keep working.
The usual dosage of hysroxychloroquine for an adult with rheumatoid arthritis is 200-400mg per day. As it is only available in the form of 200mg tablets, you should take one or two tablets per day – whichever your doctor has advised you to do.
When your symptoms have improved, you should have a medication review with your doctor to see if the dose can be lowered at all. Some patients may only need to take the drug a few times a week to manage their condition, but this is something you shouldn’t change until you’ve spoken to your own GP.
You should always swallow hydroxycloroquine tablets whole with a glass of water.
Hydroxychloroquine side effects
Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription only medicine, meaning that it does have the potential to cause adverse effects, especially if not taken properly, or if you’re particularly sensitive to it. Some people find that they need to ask their GP for various treatments or remedies to help them to cope with the side effects, whilst others find them bearable or don’t experience them at all.
As with any medication, the benefits of the drug should outweigh the side effects, so if you find that you’re struggling to cope with them, you should speak to your GP about alternative treatments.
Some of the most common side effects of hydroxychloroquine include:
Skin rash and itching
Loss of appetite
Changes in mood
Change in the colour of your skin
Change in colour of inside of nose or mouth
Loss of hair colour
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Vertigo or dizziness
Symptoms of porphyria
In addition to these, you should also look out for the following, details of which can be found in the patient information leaflet that comes with your order when you buy hydroxychloroquine:
- Symptoms of luecopenia or agranulocytosis
- Symptoms of thrombocytopenia
- Symtpoms of anaemia
- Symtpoms of aplastic anaemia
- Symtpoms of cardiomyopathy
- Symptoms of hypoglycaemia
- Fits or seizures
- Lack of movement
- Abnormal movements of the mouth or tongue
If you experience any of these side effects, you should contact your GP immediately, as you may need urgent treatment. The symptoms of each of the conditions listed above are outlined in the patient information leaflet, which you should read thoroughly before you take any of the medication.
You may be more at risk of experiencing side effects if you’re also taking any of the following medications, as they have been known to interact with hydroxychloroquine:
Medicines affecting liver or kidneys
Medicines affecting skin or eyes
If you are taking any of the above medications, you should speak to your GP about whether you’re still able to tale hydroxychloroquine or not, as you may still be allowed to take it under close monitoring or an adjusted dosage of your medications.
Hydroxychloroquine eye side effects
Hydroxychloroquien has also been known to cause eye-specific side effects. Because of this, it’s recommended that you have a full eye examination before you start treatment, and then once every year whilst you’re taking hydroxychloroquine tablets.
Hydroxychloroquine generally isn’t recommended to anyone that already suffers from eye problems such as amculopathy or retinopathy, as the drug can worsen these conditions with permanent effects.
Although hydroxychloroquine retinopathy (also known as bull’s eye retinopathy) is rare, it can affect your central vision permanently, so it’s incredibly important to keep up with regular eye exams to make sure that your quality of vision doesn’t decrease with treatment. If you notice that you’ve had any changes in your eyes or sight between appointments, you should arrange to see your GP as soon as possible to prevent any deterioration of your symptoms.
As with any treatments for chronic conditions, you will need regular monitoring with your own GP. How often you should see your doctor depends on how long you’ve been taking the treatment, how often you take it, and how severe your symptoms are.
When taking hydroxychloroquine, you’ll need to be monitored by your GP or optician to make sure that your vision isn’t impaired by the drug, as well as whether or not it is improving your symptoms and quality of life.
Does hydroxychloroquine cause weight gain?
Weight gain isn’t listed as a side effect of hydroxychloroquine, but if you’re concerned about the possibility of gaining weight during treatment, it might be an idea to make an appointment with your GP to discuss your eating and exercise habits in detail so that you can avoid an increase in weight.
Hydroxychloroquine hair loss
Hair loss is listed as a side effect of taking hydroxychloroquine tablets, along with loss of hair colour. If this happens to you and you find that it’s affecting your mental health or quality of life, you should contact your GP for advice. They may recommend that you stop taking hydroxychloroquine tablets and switch to a different medication, or they may be able to prescribe you something to encourage hair growth, or delay hair loss.
Hair loss and loss of hair colour is listed as an uncommon side effect, with it affecting less than 1 in 100 people that take the medication, but if you’re concerned about it, you should speak to your GP about if there is anything you can do to prevent it from happening.
Hydroxychloroquine cost UK
Hydroxychloroquine in the UK is relatively inexpensive, as it is a fairly old medication. If you want to buy hydroxychloroquine from Doctor4U, prices start from £39.99 for 60 tablets, which should last you between 30-60 days depending on your dosage. Alternatively, 120 tablets of hydroxychloroquine costs £59.99, lasting between 60-120 days.
Hydroxychloroquine buy online UK
Hydroxychloroquine is available to buy online in the UK from Doctor4U. All you need to do is fill out some consultation questions for our GMC-registered doctors to review. This is to make sure that the treatment is safe for you and that it won’t interfere with any medical conditions you might have, or any medications you might be taking.
You can complete this consultation form at a time and place that suits you, and if you order before 2pm Monday-Friday, next-day delivery can be selected as an option when you check out.
It’s fast, safe, and convenient to buy hydroxychloroquine from Doctor4U. Our dedicated team of doctors are here to make sure that whatever treatment you request is suitable for you, and as long as your order is approved by one of them, a prescription will be generated, and your order of hydroxychloroquine will be dispensed and shipped from our partner pharmacy straight to your door.
If you want to buy hydroxychloroquine online from Doctor4U, please click the blue button at the top of this page to answer some questions about your condition.