Malaria Home > Hydroxychloroquine

Hydroxychloroquine is a medicine licensed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, certain types of malaria, and lupus. When taken two weeks before anticipated exposure, the medication can also be used to prevent malaria infections. Hydroxychloroquine comes in tablet form and is available by prescription only. While most people tolerate the drug well, potential side effects include diarrhea, dangerous skin reactions, and eye damage.

What Is Hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine sulfate (Plaquenil®) is a prescription medication approved for the following uses:
  • To prevent and treat certain types of malaria infections
  • To treat lupus (including systemic lupus erythematosus and chronic discoid lupus)
  • To treat rheumatoid arthritis.
(Click What Is Hydroxychloroquine Used For? for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Potential Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with hydroxychloroquine. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. Serious side effects are less common.
Some of the possible side effects include, but are not limited to:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and abdominal cramping
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Dangerous skin reactions
  • Eye damage.
(Click Side Effects of Hydroxychloroquine to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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