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DRUG INFORMATION

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General Information

This is the National Library of Medicine searchable drug data base. It can be helpful to know more about the medication you are taking if you are having problems tolerating a drug. This is a common problem for Sjogren's patients.  Sometimes drug reactions are caused by inactive ingredients.

How to find both active and inactive drug ingredients:

  1. Enter the name of the medication on the search bar at the top.  For example, the drugs name "hydroxychloroquine" or the brand name, Plaquenil. Note that Plaquenil will not list generic hydroxychloroquine brands. 

  2. Search for the drug you want to know about using the manufacturer's or packager's name. Click on the underlined entry, e.g., "hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablet". This will lead you to a page with detailed information. 

  3. Scroll down the "view all sections" box to INGREDIENTS AND APPEARANCE.  Click on this entry to find a list of ingredients.  

Hydroxychloroquine 

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 HCQ II, WHY TREAT SJOGREN'S? for what 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 HCQ III - PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS.  

Methotrexate

Methotrexate is commonly used to treat Sjogren's arthritis and arthralgia. It is taken by mouth or injected once a week. It should never be taken on a daily basis. 

Tips from Donald Thomas, MD about methotrexate use

Brief Video: How do you reduce methotrexate side effects?

Myths about methotrexate

This article was written for rheumatoid arthritis, but applies to Sjogren's.

IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin)

Updated 02-24-2024

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