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Plaquenil – Uses, Side Effects, Storage Conditions, and Potential Risks

Short general description of Plaquenil

Plaquenil, also known as hydroxychloroquine, is a medication commonly used to treat various health conditions, including malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. It belongs to a class of drugs called antimalarials, and it works by suppressing the overactive immune system and reducing inflammation in the body. Plaquenil is available in tablet form and is generally taken orally.

Key Points:

  • Plaquenil, also known as hydroxychloroquine, is an antimalarial and immunosuppressant medication.
  • It is used to treat conditions such as malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
  • Plaquenil works by suppressing the overactive immune system and reducing inflammation.
  • It is available in tablet form and is taken orally.

“While Plaquenil is primarily used as an antimalarial and immunosuppressant, its effectiveness as an antiviral medication has been a topic of interest, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is important to note that Plaquenil has not been proven to be highly effective against viral infections, including COVID-19. Other antiviral medications, such as remdesivir and dexamethasone, have shown more promising results in clinical trials.”

For more information, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Top-rated antiviral medications for efficacy

When it comes to antiviral medications, there are several options available that have shown greater efficacy compared to Plaquenil. While Plaquenil has primarily been used as an antimalarial and immunosuppressant, its effectiveness against viral infections, including COVID-19, has not been proven definitively.

However, there are other antiviral medications that have demonstrated more promising results in clinical trials. Two such examples are remdesivir and dexamethasone.


Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has gained significant attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has shown effectiveness in reducing the severity of illness and shortening the recovery time in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. According to clinical trials conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), remdesivir has demonstrated a faster time to recovery compared to a placebo.

More information on remdesivir can be found on the NIAID website.


Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that has been found to be beneficial in treating severe cases of COVID-19. In a large clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom, dexamethasone was shown to reduce mortality rates in patients requiring supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation. This has led to its use as a standard treatment for severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Detailed information about dexamethasone can be found on the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

It is important to rely on scientifically backed evidence and consult healthcare professionals when considering antiviral medications for the treatment of viral infections. While Plaquenil may have some potential uses, there are other medications that have shown more promising results and should be prioritized based on their proven efficacy.

Contraindications for combining Plaquenil with surgical procedures or anesthesia

Before undergoing any surgical procedure or receiving anesthesia, it is crucial to inform healthcare providers about any medications you are taking, including Plaquenil. Certain medications, including Plaquenil, can interact with anesthesia and other drugs used during surgery, potentially causing complications or adverse reactions.

Contraindications may include an increased risk of bleeding or anesthetic drug interactions, and it is essential to have a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider regarding the risks and benefits of continuing or temporarily discontinuing Plaquenil before surgery.

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It is important to note that Plaquenil has been known to affect blood clotting mechanisms in some individuals. Therefore, individuals scheduled for surgery or undergoing procedures with potential bleeding risks should be cautious about the use of Plaquenil.

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Plaquenil use should be carefully evaluated before surgery, and the decision to discontinue the medication should be made on a case-by-case basis. Factors that should be considered include the type of surgery, the patient’s underlying medical condition, and the risks associated with discontinuing Plaquenil.

Patients who are on Plaquenil therapy and have an elective procedure scheduled should speak with their healthcare provider to develop an appropriate plan. This may involve temporarily stopping Plaquenil before the surgery to minimize any potential risks and complications.

It is crucial for patients to inform their healthcare providers about all medications, supplements, and herbal remedies they are taking, as well as any known allergies or adverse reactions they may have experienced. This information will help the healthcare team assess the potential risks and make informed decisions regarding the use of Plaquenil during surgical procedures.

For more information about anesthesia, surgery, and medication interactions, please refer to the following sources:

  1. American Society of Anesthesiologists – Clinical Guidelines
  2. NCBI – Drug interactions with anesthesia medications
  3. PubMed – Risks and benefits of stopping Plaquenil therapy before surgery

Specific Storage Conditions for Plaquenil’s Potency and Safety

Proper storage of Plaquenil is essential to maintain its potency and ensure the medication remains safe for use. Here are the specific storage conditions you should follow:


Plaquenil should be stored at room temperature, which ranges between 68°F-77°F or 20°C-25°C. Make sure to keep it away from extreme heat or cold, as exposure to temperatures outside this range can affect the drug’s effectiveness.


Avoid exposing Plaquenil to high levels of humidity, as it can degrade the medication. Store it in a dry area and protect it from moisture. Do not store it in the bathroom, where humidity levels are typically higher.


Plaquenil is light-sensitive, so it is crucial to protect the medication from direct sunlight or artificial light sources. Store it in a dark place, such as a medicine cabinet or a cupboard, to prevent light exposure.

Original Packaging:

Keep Plaquenil in its original packaging or the container it came in. The packaging is designed to provide additional protection against light, moisture, and other external factors that can degrade the medication.

Childproof Container:

To ensure the safety of children and pets, store Plaquenil in a childproof container. This will help prevent accidental ingestion or exposure to the medication.

Following these specific storage conditions will help maintain Plaquenil’s potency and safety, ensuring that the medication remains effective when you need it.

For more detailed information on proper storage and handling of Plaquenil, consult the official prescribing information provided by the manufacturer or seek guidance from a healthcare professional.

Types of Antiviral Tablets for Various Infections

When it comes to treating viral infections, there are various types of antiviral tablets available. These medications are designed to target specific viruses and inhibit their replication, aiding in the reduction of symptoms and the duration of the illness. It is important to note that antiviral tablets are prescription drugs and should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

1. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)

Oseltamivir, commonly known by its brand name Tamiflu, is an antiviral medication primarily used to treat influenza or flu. It inhibits the activity of the neuraminidase enzyme, which the flu virus uses to spread and replicate in the body. Tamiflu is most effective when taken within the first 48 hours of experiencing flu symptoms. It comes in capsule form and is taken orally.

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2. Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Acyclovir, marketed as Zovirax, is an antiviral drug used to treat various viral infections, including herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections, herpes zoster (shingles), and chickenpox. It works by interfering with the replication of the virus’s DNA, thus preventing it from spreading. Acyclovir is available in tablet form, as well as in cream and intravenous formulations.

3. Ribavirin (Rebetol)

Ribavirin, sold under the brand name Rebetol, is primarily used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, a viral infection affecting the liver. It works by inhibiting the replication of the hepatitis C virus, reducing its viral load in the body. Ribavirin is prescribed in combination with other antiviral medications and is available in tablet form.

4. Ganciclovir (Cytovene)

Ganciclovir, commonly known as Cytovene, is an antiviral drug primarily used for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections. CMV can cause severe complications, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems. Ganciclovir works by inhibiting the replication of the CMV virus. It is available as an oral tablet and intravenous formulation.

5. Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi)

Sofosbuvir, marketed under the brand name Sovaldi, is a direct-acting antiviral medication used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. It works by targeting specific enzymes necessary for the replication of the hepatitis C virus, inhibiting its ability to spread and replicate. Sofosbuvir is prescribed in combination with other antiviral drugs and is available in tablet form.

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate antiviral tablet for a specific viral infection. Treatment plans may vary depending on the severity of the infection, the specific virus involved, and individual patient factors.

Affordable Options for Americans with Low Wages and No Insurance

Access to affordable healthcare is a pressing concern for many Americans, especially those with low wages and no insurance coverage. Fortunately, there are several options available for individuals who require medications like Plaquenil but may struggle with the financial burden. Here are some resources and programs that can help:

1. Medicaid

If you have a low income and meet the eligibility criteria, you may qualify for Medicaid, a government program that provides free or low-cost healthcare coverage. Medicaid can help cover the costs of prescription medications, including Plaquenil. To check if you are eligible and to apply, visit the official website of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

2. Patient Assistance Programs

Many pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs (PAPs) that provide free or discounted medications to individuals who cannot afford them. These programs, such as the one offered by the manufacturer of Plaquenil, aim to ensure that necessary medications are accessible to those in need. To find out more about patient assistance programs, visit the Partnership for Prescription Assistance website.

3. Prescription Discount Cards

Prescription discount cards can help reduce the cost of medications, including Plaquenil. These cards are often available for free and can be used at participating pharmacies to obtain discounts on the retail price of prescription drugs. Websites such as GoodRx and SingleCare provide easy access to these discount cards and allow you to compare prices at different pharmacies.

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4. Community Health Centers

Community health centers are nonprofit organizations that provide primary care, including access to prescription medications, on a sliding fee scale based on income. These centers aim to serve underserved populations and offer affordable healthcare services. To find a community health center near you, you can visit the Health Resources & Services Administration website.

5. Prescription Assistance Foundations

There are several foundations that offer assistance for those who cannot afford their medications. Organizations like RxHope and NeedyMeds connect individuals with appropriate prescription assistance programs based on their specific needs. These foundations can provide valuable resources and information on accessing medications at lower costs.

It is important for individuals facing financial challenges to explore these options and seek assistance to ensure they can afford necessary medications like Plaquenil. Remember, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen.

Potential Side Effects and Risks of Plaquenil Usage

Plaquenil, like any medication, can have potential side effects and risks associated with its usage. It is important to be informed about these potential risks before starting or continuing treatment with this drug.

1. Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Plaquenil may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Rash

These side effects are typically mild and may diminish over time as the body adjusts to the medication. However, if these side effects persist or worsen, it is important to consult a healthcare professional.

2. Serious Side Effects

In rare cases, Plaquenil can cause serious side effects. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Allergic reactions, such as hives, rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing
  • Changes in vision or eye problems, including blurred vision, difficulty focusing, or seeing halos around lights
  • Muscle weakness or coordination difficulties
  • Serious mood or mental changes, such as depression, hallucinations, or suicidal thoughts
  • Severe stomach or abdominal pain
  • Irregular heartbeat or other heart-related symptoms

These symptoms may indicate a severe reaction to Plaquenil and should be treated as medical emergencies.

3. Retinal Toxicity

Prolonged use of Plaquenil at high doses can potentially lead to retinal toxicity, which may affect vision. Regular eye examinations are recommended for individuals taking Plaquenil long-term to monitor for any signs of retinal damage.

4. Precautions and Considerations

Prior to starting Plaquenil treatment, it is crucial to inform your healthcare provider about any pre-existing medical conditions, allergies, or medications you are currently taking. Certain medical conditions, such as liver disease or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, may require special consideration or monitoring when using Plaquenil.

5. Drug Interactions

Plaquenil can potentially interact with other medications, including certain antibiotics, antacids, and anticoagulants. Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking to minimize the risk of drug interactions.

It is important to note that this list does not cover all potential side effects and risks associated with Plaquenil usage. For a comprehensive understanding of the medication’s potential side effects, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional or refer to reliable sources such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Category: Anti Viral
Tags: Plaquenil, Hydroxychloroquine