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Hydroxychloroquine

Last updated on 18/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions   |   Tips   |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Hydroxychloroquine 

CHINESE NAME: 硫酸羥氯喹

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Apo-hydroxychloroquine, Plaquenil, Vickoquen 

DRUG CLASS: Aminoquinoline; Antimalarial agent 

USED FOR:  Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, malaria

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: Chloroquine, Primaquine

What is Hydroxychloroquine for?

Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial and a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug. It kills the malaria parasite and is used for the prevention and treatment of malaria. Hydroxychloroquine is also commonly used to treat autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Hydroxychloroquine is currently under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19. However, the safety and efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine are yet to be established for the treatment of COVID-19.

How to use it?

Hydroxychloroquine is taken by mouth. You should take Hydroxychloroquine with meal or milk for better absorption.

The suggested adult doses for different uses are listed below:

For prevention of malaria

Adult: 400 mg once a week on the same day. Start 2 weeks prior to exposure and continue until 8 weeks after exposure.

For rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus

Adult: 200-400 mg once daily. Do not exceed a daily dose of 5 mg/kg/day or 400 mg per day.

What are the side effects of Hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, dizziness, decreased appetite, visual disturbances and irritability. Long-term use at higher doses is associated with retinal toxicity, so it is important to have eyes examined when starting treatment and on a regular basis.

Who should not take Hydroxychloroquine?

People who are allergic to Hydroxychloroquine or any ingredient of the formulation.

Pharmacist Tips:

– Take Hydroxychloroquine as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. Do not overdose as this is difficult to treat and can be fatal.
– Take antacids, such as Aluminium hydroxide, 4 hours before or after taking Hydroxychloroquine if needed.

Common dosing schedule:
Hydroxychloroquine can be taken with or without food.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Hydroxychloroquine may interact with:
– Antidiabetic agents, e.g. Insulin, Metformin
Cimetidine
Digoxin
– Dapsone
– Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, e.g. Citalopram, Paroxetine
– Tamoxifen

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Hydroxychloroquine in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk/

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Hydroxychloroquine in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.