Hydroxychloroquine: MedlinePlus Drug Information

Hydroxychloroquine
pronounced as (hye drox ee klor’ oh kwin)

Why is this medication prescribed?
Hydroxychloroquine is in a class of drugs called antimalarials. It is used to prevent and treat
acute attacks of malaria. It is also used to treat discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus and
rheumatoid arthritis in patients whose symptoms have not improved with other treatments.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more
information.

Hydroxychloroquine can be taken with a glass of milk or a meal to decrease nausea. Follow the
directions on your prescription label carefully.

What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next
dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double
dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?
Hydroxychloroquine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these
symptoms are severe or do not go away:
headache
dizziness
loss of appetite
nausea
diarrhea
stomach pain
vomiting
skin rash

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
reading or seeing difficulties (words, letters, or parts of objects missing)
sensitivity to light
blurred distance vision
seeing light flashes or streaks
difficulty hearing
ringing in ears
muscle weakness
bleeding or bruising of the skin
bleaching or loss of hair
mood or mental changes
irregular heartbeat
drowsiness
convulsions

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children.
Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and
other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the
toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back
program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn
about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website
for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such
as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-
resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning,
always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up
and away and out of their sight and reach.

In case of emergency/overdose:
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also
available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help [https://www.poisonhelp.org/help] . If the
victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately
call emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?
Children can be especially sensitive to an overdose, so keep the medication out of the reach of
children. Children should not take hydroxychloroquine for long-term therapy.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab
tests to check your response to hydroxychloroquine.

If you are taking hydroxychloroquine for a long period of time, your doctor will recommend
frequent eye exams. It is very important that you keep these appointments. Hydroxychloroquine
can cause serious vision problems. If you experience any changes in vision, stop taking
hydroxychloroquine and call your doctor immediately.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about
refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-
the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if
you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of
emergencies.

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