Proper Use

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

Take this medicine with meals or milk to lessen possible stomach upset, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Keep this medicine out of the reach of children. Children are especially sensitive to the effects of hydroxychloroquine and overdose is especially dangerous in children. Taking as few as 3 or 4 tablets (250-mg strength) of chloroquine has resulted in death in small children. Hydroxychloroquine is probably just as dangerous.

It is very important that you take this medicine only as directed. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of serious side effects.

If you are taking this medicine to help keep you from getting malaria, keep taking it for the full time of treatment. If you already have malaria, you should still keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment even if you begin to feel better after a few days. This will help to clear up your infection completely. If you stop taking this medicine too soon, your symptoms may return.

Hydroxychloroquine works best when you take it on a regular schedule. For example, if you are to take it once a week to prevent malaria, it is best to take it on the same day each week. Or if you are to take 2 doses a day, 1 dose may be taken with breakfast and the other with the evening meal. Make sure that you do not miss any doses. If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.

For patients taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent malaria:

  • Your doctor may want you to start taking this medicine 1 to 2 weeks before you travel to an area where there is a chance of getting malaria. This will help you to see how you react to the medicine. Also, it will allow time for your doctor to change to another medicine if you have a reaction to this medicine.
  • Also, you should keep taking this medicine while you are in the area and for 4 to 6 weeks after you leave the area. No medicine will protect you completely from malaria. However, to protect you as completely as possible, it is important to keep taking this medicine for the full time your doctor ordered. Also, if fever develops during your travels or within 2 months after you leave the area, check with your doctor immediately.

For patients taking hydroxychloroquine for arthritis or lupus:

  • This medicine must be taken regularly as ordered by your doctor in order for it to help you. It may take up to several weeks before you begin to feel better. It may take up to 6 months before you feel the full benefit of this medicine.

For patients unable to swallow hydroxychloroquine tablets:

  • Your pharmacist can crush the tablets and put each dose in a capsule. Contents of the capsules may then be mixed with a teaspoonful of jam, jelly, or jello. Be sure you take all the food in order to get the full dose of medicine.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For tablets dosage form:
    • For prevention of malaria:
      • Adults—400 milligrams (mg) once every seven days.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 6.4 mg per kilogram (kg) (2.9 mg per pound) of body weight once every seven days.
    • For treatment of malaria:
      • Adults—800 mg as a single dose. This may sometimes be followed by a dose of 400 mg six to eight hours after the first dose, then 400 mg once a day on the second and third days.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 32 mg per kg (14.5 mg per pound) of body weight taken over a period of three days.
    • For treatment of arthritis:
      • Adults—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 6.5 mg per kg (2.9 mg per pound) of body weight per day.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.