DRUG INFORMATION

Article by Donald Thomas, MD about hydroxychloroquine use in lupus

Highlights: 

  1. Benefits. Although better research is needed in Sjogren's, many of the benefits of taking HCQ are similar. See this blog post, HCQ II, for what we we know about its use in Sjogren's.

  2. Practical tips about dosage and when to take the pills.  

  3. Managing side effects, including gastrointestinal, rashes, mood changes, and sleep problems.

  4. Testing HCQ blood levels. This is not typically done in Sjogren's because the benefits of having adequate blood levels have not been well documented because of inadequate research.  

  5. Desensitization method for patients who develop a rash (Discuss with your doctor first!)

  6. Retinal screening recommendations, based on AAO recommendations. 
    NOTE: The wording is a bit confusing. Here is a summary
    Testing is performed once just as you are starting HCQ.
    After that most people can wait 5 years before annual testing is needed.
    Annual tests- Two tests are performed once a year on non-Asian patients, 3 tests on Asian patients.
    Discuss screening frequency with your ophthalmologist; every 6 months is not necessary for most patients.  

For more practical tips, see the blog post, HCQ III.  

Updated  09-26-2022