1 What is Plaquenil?

Brand: Plaquenil

Generic: Hydroxychloroquine (Oral Route)

Plaquenil belongs to a group of drugs called antimalarials or antiprotozoals. Protozoa are unicellular organisms that can cause various infections in human body. This medication is widely use to manage malaria and is also indicated for the treatment of liver disease caused by certain protozoa.

Although some indications are not included in product labeling, this drug can be used in some patients with the following medical conditions:

This drug is only available through a doctor’s prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet

2 What to know before using

Before using Plaquenil, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.

The advantages of a drug should always be weighed against its associated risks. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the drug and will inform you about them. Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:


If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.

Age specific problems:

Children are more prone to having the side effects of hydroxychloroquine. Overdose of this drug is more dangerous in children. Therefore this drug should be used cautiously in children.

The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out, therefore its safety and efficacy have not been established in older age group. However geriatric population is more prone to having kidney, liver and heart problems.

Drug Interactions:

Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand certain drugs are allowed to be used together. So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug. 

For a complete list of medications that may interact with Plaquenil, speak with your doctor.

Furthermore, certain medications should not be taken with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco.

You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from, especially:

  • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
  • Eye or vision problems
  • Blood disease (severe)
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve or brain disease (severe), including convulsions (seizures)
  • Liver disease
  • Porphyria
  • Stomach or intestinal disease
  • Psoriasis

3 Proper usage

To use Plaquenil properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

Take this drug with meals or milk to decrease the chance of getting stomach side effects. If you are using this medication for prevention of malaria, make sure that you take it for the full course of treatment. Hydroxychloroquine works best if it is used according to a regular schedule.

This drug should be used exactly as prescribed by your doctor in order to avoid adverse effects. Do not overuse or misuse this drug and do not use it longer than the recommended time. Read all the instructions mentioned in the medication guide.

Do not miss any dose. The dose of this drug varies according to the condition of each person. The number of doses per day, the time interval between the doses and the length of time you have to take the medicine depends on your condition individually and all these factors should only be determined by your healthcare provider. Follow each and every instruction of your doctor and also read the label carefully.

In case you miss one dose of this drug, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your subsequent dose, you can then skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.


This medicine should be stored at room temperature within a closed container, away from heat, direct light and moisture. Keep this drug out of the reach of children. Do not store expired or outdated medicines or the medicine no longer needed.

4 Precautions to take

Before using Plaquenil, there are some precautions you must take.

Hydroxychloroquine can cause blurring of vision so it is mandatory to check your vision before starting this drug. If you experience blurred vision while on this drug, make sure to contact your doctor immediately.

Your doctor will monitor the response to this medicine and look for any side effects. Therefore, regular follow-up is necessary during and after the treatment.

Contact your doctor if your symptoms have not improved even after taking the full course of treatment.

Avoid taking any other medicine unless thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Always ask your doctor before using any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medicine.

5 Potential side effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Plaquenil to avoid unwanted potential side effects.

Every medicine has a propensity to cause unwanted effects along with its desired effects. Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately.

This medication is associated with following side effects:

  • loss of balance or coordination
  • muscle weakness, twitching, or uncontrolled movement
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding
  • blurred vision, light sensitivity, seeing halos around light
  • seizure (convulsions)
  • confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior

Seek medical help instantly, if you experience any of these symptoms while on this drug.

Also contact your healthcare professional immediately, if have overdosed on this drug. If any of these side effects becomes more bothersome or does not go away, contact your doctor.

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