Plaquenil used in case of treatment when a person gets malaria disease. It can also be used for prevention, depending on the dose. Malaria is a disease that can be obtained from the bite of a mosquito, which in this way transmits specific harmful parasites.
But this is not all the case with using Plaquenil: with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or lupus of various types (discoid or systemic erythematosus). In this case, you can use Plaquenil in the general form too.
Like many powerful drugs, Hydroxychloroquine can have a dangerous effect on the patient’s heart. A particularly risky case is when the patient is already taking medications that include the antibiotic azithromycin or in other words Z-Pak. As a consequence, the first symptoms are a strong and rapid heartbeat, and in some cases dizziness to the point of losing consciousness. If there are any, it is necessary to call an ambulance so that this does not lead to more serious consequences, including damage to the retina, which will lead to irreversible damage to a person’s vision.
With blurred vision, problems concentrating on something, the appearance of blind spots, problems with reading, special sensitivity, when vision is light or feels distorted, then these are the first bells to stop taking Plaquenil and make an appointment immediately.
What You Should Know Before Taking Medication
First of all, as the name implies, this drug contains hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, so if a person is allergic to these components, then treatment with this drug is prohibited.
As mentioned earlier, this drug can directly affect the quality of vision. It primarily affects the retina, which is the layer of the membrane in the eye that helps produce vision. The negative effects of the drug can stimulate lifelong vision problems. Depending on the conditions, people are at varying degrees of risk: those who have previously had some vision or kidney problems, as well as those treated with tamoxifen, will be weaker against the negative effects of Plaquenil.
When consulting with a doctor, it is necessary to give him full information about early diseases, so that it is clear that it is safe for the patient to take Plaquenil. These data should include:
- vision or retinal problems that have ever been caused by a malaria drug;
- Treatment of a diseased heart or a violation of its rhythm;
- Allergies, in particular to quinine;
- Treatment of diseases of organs such as the liver or kidneys;
- Dim comfort in the stomach, or rather its disorder;
- Dependence on alcohol (alcoholism);
- Genetic porphyria.
It is also very important to mention actual pregnancy or pregnancy planning, as such a drug is more aggressive when exposed to a pregnant woman: malaria causes serious illness or even death. Moreover, when a mother-to-be has malaria, this increases the risk of having a miscarriage, a stillborn baby, or premature birth with a likely lower birth weight of the baby.
A pregnant woman cannot know 100% whether or not taking this drug will harm her unborn baby. During pregnancy, before traveling to regions where malaria is extremely common, it is better to consult a doctor and get his opinion. In addition, this cannot be argued, but breastfeeding is probably unsafe during the course of Plaquenil. For individuals who are under the age of majority, treatment with Plaquenil for lupus or rheumatoid arthritis is not approved.
What Side Effects to Expect from Taking Plaquenil
Like all drugs, Plaquenil is no exception and, under certain circumstances, can cause side effects. They can have a different duration: from temporary to those that last days or weeks. In any case, it is always worth discussing the presence of any symptoms with a doctor.
Such side effects usually do not last long and do not bother patients to the point of becoming serious or dangerous. But in any case, it is better to consult a doctor and discuss the condition of the patient. Diarrhoea, nauseous feeling, desire to vomit, abdominal pain — are the effects that have been witnessed by the patient in clinical studies.
Mild Side Effects
It is not necessary that such a strong drug will cause only serious complications. When taking Plaquenil, people also observe its mild form. They will also be indicated in the instructions for use of this device. In addition to the most common effects listed above, patients may suffer from dizziness, low energy, fatigue, headaches, weight loss, and hair loss, as well as high irritability or taut nerves.
Such side effects can have a different duration — both a few days and several weeks. It is important to track how long they are present in a person because their prolonged sensation can lead to aggravation and become more serious health problems.
Dangerous and Serious Side Effects
As it has already become clear from the text above, Plaquenil is a strong drug that is used to treat a rather exotic disease. Thus, it can stimulate the appearance of more serious side effects — they will all be indicated in the instructions for use. The main thing is not to hesitate and see a doctor if one of the serious symptoms appears, because they can be life-threatening and require emergency medical attention.
These side effects were divided into groups. Patients could have hearing problems after taking Plaquenil or just with their ears and, as a result, noise in them:
- Difficulty feeling balance;
- Spinning head;
- Partial or complete hearing loss, problems with it.
Further, the doctors observed in those being treated an underestimated level of leukocytes in the blood, as well as erythrocytes and platelets. As a result, patients suffered from:
- Bleeding in the gums and from the nose;
- Low energy and feeling tired;
- The appearance of infections.
Surprisingly, this drug also affects the blood sugar level, and in particular it’s lowering, in other words, patients may experience hypoglycemia among its symptoms:
- Feeling confused in the head;
- The appearance of dizziness;
- Increased sweating.
Also, among the most dangerous side effects that can even lead to death if you do not consult a doctor in time, are complications in the work of the muscles and nerves of the body: spasms, weakness, slow reflexes. But in addition to these physical consequences, a person may have problems with good dreams, as well as nightmares. Of the atypical consequences of taking Plaquenil — suicidal behavior and thoughts.
Taking Hydroxychloroquine with Other Drugs
Doctors in principle often warn their patients about the dangers or advise against taking specific drugs together. Some combinations are generally prohibited and can lead to irreversible consequences. In the case of Plaquenil:
- Hydroxychloroquine in combination with digoxin leads to an increase in digoxin;
- Plaquenil enhances the effect of hypoglycemic agents, so you need to monitor the level of insulin and anti-diabetics;
- Plaquenil affects the QT interval — it lengthens it. It is worth thinking carefully about taking it with drugs that disrupt the heart rhythm.
All further contraindications should be discussed with the doctor, because there can be dozens of them and each of them is individual for each patient.