FAQs for Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)


Author: SK

1. What is Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)?

HCQ is in a class of antimalarial drugs, and it has the FDA’s approval for the treatment of acute attacks of malaria. It can also treat immunodeficiency diseases such as lupus and arthritis.

2. What is the difference between Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine?

Both are antimalarial drugs, and they are quite similar. The brand name for HCQ is Plaquenil, whereas it is Aranel for Chloroquine. Moreover, they both treat several forms of malaria. Besides, HCQ can also treat lupus and arthritis, whereas Chloroquine can treat porphyria off label.

3. How To Administer HCQ?

HCQ comes in a tablet form, and you can take it orally. If you are taking it to prevent malaria, you can take one dose on the same day of each week. It is once or twice a day for lupus and arthritis. If an adult is traveling to a place where malaria is common, doctors prescribe HCQ for malaria prophylaxis. The medication starts two weeks before exposure and continues till four weeks after departure from the endemic area.

4. What is the dosage for HCQ?

One tablet of HCQ contains 200 mg HCQ. For malaria prophylaxis, the dosage is 400 mg, and you have to take it orally once a week. Also, for acute malaria, 800 mg is taken as an initial dose. After that, you should take 400 mg doses at 6, 24, and 48 hours after the initial dose. For lupus, doctors recommend 200-400 doses per day to divide into one or two doses. For arthritis, it is 400-600 mg as initial dosage, and for maintenance, it is 200-400 gm dosage per day.

5. What to do if I miss a dose?

Take the dose as soon as you remember it. If it is time for the next dose, then skipped dose should be missed, and regular dosing should be followed. Double dosing should not be taken to make up for a missed dose.

6. What happens if I overdose?

There are several overdose symptoms, like headaches, drowsiness, convulsions, visual disturbance, and irregular heartbeats. If someone overdoses, the poison control department should be called. If the person collapses, has a seizure, or is having trouble breathing, 911 should be contacted for immediate medical attention.

7. Where can I buy HCQ, and is there an online prescription for HCQ?

HCQ can be bought in pharmacies, and they can only be purchased through a prescription. In the US, it cannot be bought over the counter, and a prescription is required. In some countries like Iran and Indonesia, it can be bought over the counter illegally. It can be bought online like a subject called doctors4u in the UK, but it must first go through a series of consultation and online prescription. Only after the process, it can be bought if the patient is eligible.

8. What is the price of HCQ tablets?

The cost of HCQ tablets ranges from $0.37 to $0.99. It depends upon the pharmacy you visit, and the cost of a batch of 100 units of HCQ varies from $37 TO $99.

9. Is HCQ safe for pregnant women?

It should be only be used in pregnant women for malaria prophylaxis and treatment. HCQ may be secreted in breast milk and may cause side effects to the infant.

10. How long does HCQ take to work?

It doesn’t work immediately, and it may take about 12 weeks or maybe longer for a patient to experience any benefits. It is a long-term treatment. And a person should keep taking it as long as the patient does not experience any side effects.

11. What are the side effects of HCQ?

It is commonly rare to experience any side effects, but HCQ may cause headaches, nausea, rashes, diarrhoea, and visual problems. There is a small risk that HCQ may damage a part of the eye called the retina, and it increases with high dosage and long-term use. Healthcare providers can prescribe a safe dose based on the patient’s weight, and the patient should regularly monitor their eyes.

12. Is HCQ safe to use for the treatment of Covid-19?

Many scientists have tested HCQ for the treatment of Covid-19. Several clinical and retrospective studies have shown that early treatment of HCQ with Covid can cure the virus. Prophylaxis of HCQ has led to a reduction in hospitalization rates and reduced the death rate. Many doctors have also stated that the use of HCQ with zinc and azithromycin has shown promising results, and these medications can be used for treating Covid patients. However, HCQ is not approved by the FDA for the treatment of Covid, but the FDA has released a EUA authorizing HCQ for the treatment of Covid based on the best evidence available. Based on future results, the FDA will take action regarding the use of HCQ for Covid.

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