Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is in a class of drugs called anti-malarials. It is used to prevent and treat acute attacks of malaria.
However, it was found to treat systemic lupus, Sjogren's Syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis. My third rheumatologist takes aggressive measures and prescribed Plaquenil.
Plaquenil takes about 3 months (some say 6) to kick in.
Plaquenil is fairly safe. There are two issues that can come up. One is a problem with my kidneys and liver so you will get blood tests. The other, which is more common and can be severe, are eye problems. You may have to go to an Opthamologist two times a year.
Some people get nauseous and it is suggested that you drink milk or take it with a meal.
I started out by taking one 200mg tablet a day for a two weeks. I then continued with two 200 mg tablets every day.
How is it going?
I was getting very discouraged. Plaquenil does not work for everyone but for those who find relief they get great relief. I have Sjogren's Syndrome and this is the only drug for that disease. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I finally feel as if the Plaquenil has kicked in. Although the joints in my fingers can still hurt, I can tell by my right thumb that I am better. This thumb has been swollen for as long as I can remember. The swelling has gone down and I am able to write and bend my thumb without pain!
Down the road I may need more treatments but for now Plaquenil is working for me.