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 (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.