Hydroxychloroquine: A New Friend

My doctor gave me prescription for HCQS during my last check-up...and then asked me to get clearance from an opthalmologist before taking it. I just looked up the drug in Wikipedia and here is what I got:

Hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug, sold under the trade names Plaquenil,Axemal(In India), Dolquine, and Quensyl, also used to reduce inflammation in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (see disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) and lupus. The adult starting dose is 400 milligrams one to two times daily, for several weeks or months, depending on the reaction. This may be reduced to 200 from 400 milligrams per day for maintenance. With systemic lupus, it is especially useful in relieving skin inflammation, hair loss, oral sores, fatigue and joint pain as well as preventing relapse.
One of the most serious side effects is a toxicity in the eye[11] (generally with chronic use), and requires regular screening even when symptom-free. The daily safe maximum dose for eye toxicity can be computed from one's height and weight using this calculator.

And here, is why I needed to get clearance from an eye-doctor first, also from Wikipedia. Hmmm:

Toxicity from hydroxychloroquine may be seen in two distinct areas of the eye, the cornea, and the macula. The cornea may become affected (relatively commonly) by an innocuous vortex keratopathy and is characterized by whorl-like corneal epithelial deposits. These changes bear no relationship to dosage and are usually reversible on cessation of hydroxychloroquine.
The macular changes are potentially serious and are related to dosage and length of time taking hydroxychloroquine. Established maculopathy is characterized by moderate reduction of visual acuity and an obvious "bulls eye" macular lesion. End stage maculopathy is characterized by severe reduction in visual acuity and severe atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium.

Remembering my Cytoxan Pulse Treatments

"You were much easier to treat when you were 16."

So said my doctor when we were discussing options for my treatment during my last check-up. She was of the opinion that I need to go through the (Cytoxan) pulsing treatment again. I was the opinion that it should not interfere with my work schedule, if we really do need to do it. When I first went through pulse treatment in 1993-1994, I was only 15-16 years old, and so my mother easily committed me to the treatment. Now, I'm 33, working a high-tier role in an I.T. company, sole breadwinner for the family -- locking me down for a series of treatments meant checking my calendar, at a minimum.

Yes, it was much easier back then. The treatment was done in my doctor's office. We settled first for a much lower-priced medicine, Endoxan if I remember it correctly. I had nausea and gagged immediately after the treatment. We shifted to Cytoxan and it was all better. It was more expensive but there was less trouble after the sessions. I also got the hang of it. I knew I always had to hydrate myself the whole time, and it pays to have the I.V. drip water first for a considerable time before they put in the drug. It went on monthly for a year, then every three months, then every six months til the sessions were concluded.

To be very honest, I never thought I'd have to go through pulse treatments again. Anyway, it has to be done. Wish me luck.


110 Pounds Woot Woot!

Well, at the very least the corticosteroids are helping me reach my pre-SLE-reactivation goal of gaining weight. Damn, my appetite is whack these days: I used to have this great office ability to not have lunch and still survive long enough for a quick fast food dinner. Nowadays, aside from lunch I now have the urge to have snacks in between meals: most of the time McDonalds in the morning. Now everyone who sees me says I look like I gained a few pounds. In reality I really did. I'm now 110 pounds based on my last weigh-in in the bathroom. My gut is now large, and hence my office pants are a bit of a stretch, if you get my meaning. I actually had two new office pants tailored using a new larger waistline. I told my doctor about my renewed healthy appetite and she mentioned it was all in the mind. Hmm. Really? Anyway, I think eating a lot is OK, especially for an ectomorph-since-birth like me. The problem I think are the complementary activities that needs to be done to make this lifestyle healthier... like exercise.