If you are experiencing the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, ask your doctor about Plaquenil or generic Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate, which is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). Although Plaquenil was first used for preventing and treating Chloroquine sensitive types of malaria, doctors have found it beneficial as an anti inflammatory drug for those with arthritis, some symptoms of lupus, and other immune-mediated diseases. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
The exact mechanism of how Plaquenil works as an anti-rheumatic drug is not entirely clear. However, when taken as directed, Plaquenil appears to inhibit the actions of inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins. This decreases inflammation in the affected joints. Plaquenil also interacts with immune cells that control your body’s immune response to the ordinary proteins or DNA/RNA that trigger the autoimmune response, and it interferes with cells that play a key role in starting your body’s immune response.
For preventing malaria, Plaquenil is taken once a week for two weeks prior to entering any of the countries where malaria is prevalent. These include Africa, Asia, Central/South America, Haiti, Dominican Republic, parts of the Middle East, and some islands of the Pacific. You must take Plaquenil once a week while you are in one of these countries, and continue this for 4-8 weeks when you return home. Dosage for Plaquenil will be decided by your doctor if you have malaria. It is believed to reduce the formation of hemozoin (a breakdown product of hemoglobin) in the parasites and results in their death as the hematin cannot be detoxified.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are nursing a baby to know if Plaquenil is safe to take. Explain other medical conditions or allergies you have to your doctor and provide a list of Rx drugs you currently take or use, including OTC meds, herbal remedies, and vitamin or dietary supplements. This will help in determining if Plaquenil is the right medicine for you.
You should not operate a vehicle or attempt any activity that requires you to be alert until you know how your body will react to Plaquenil. If you are diabetic, monitor your blood glucose levels as Plaquenil may cause it to drop. Keep Plaquenil out of children’s reach and never share medications with anyone. If you become nauseous taking Plaquenil, take it with a full glass of milk.
If you experience fainting, change in heart rate, or muscle weakness, call your doctor immediately.