What Is Plaquenil?
Plaquenil® (Hydroxychloroquine sulfate) is a drug originally used to prevent or treat malaria. Malaria is a serious but rare disease caused by bites from infected mosquitos. Now the drug is used to treat inflammatory diseases. This type of disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissue. Some diseases treated with Plaquenil include:
- Lupus, which causes fever, rashes, skin problems, and other symptoms.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints of your hands and feet.
- Sjögren’s syndrome, which causes dry eyes and dry mouth.
Plaquenil lowers your immune system’s response to infection. This can help control symptoms like rashes, skin and mouth sores and joint pain.
Plaquenil and your eyes
A rare side effect of Plaquenil is damage to the eye’s retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Using Plaquenil for a long period of time may harm the retina, causing serious vision loss.
People with retinal damage from Plaquenil are not aware at first that they are losing vision. Unfortunately, once they lose a severe amount of vision loss, it is permanent. If you take Plaquenil, it is very important to see an ophthalmologist regularly. Your ophthalmologist will check your retina for problems before serious damage occurs.