Hydroxychloroquine has been a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19 and several countries, including India, approving it for emergencies, pharmacies are reporting a surge in demand for the drug yet to be proven as a cure against the disease.
What is hydroxychloroquine?
Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet.
Hydroxychloroquine is available as the brand-name drug Plaquenil. It’s also available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.
Hydroxychloroquine may be used as part of combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.
What does hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine usually treat?
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were first used to prevent or treat malaria. Both are available as pills that are taken by mouth. Hydroxychloroquine is also approved for long-term use in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
The dosage varies depending on what the medications are being used for. On the low end, hydroxychloroquine is taken as 400 mg orally once a week for malaria prevention and should be continued for 4 weeks after leaving an endemic area. On the high end, hydroxychloroquine is taken as 200 mg to 400 mg daily for rheumatoid arthritis.
Can hydroxychloroquine protect you from catching the virus?
There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine can prevent coronavirus infection. However, researchers at the University of Minnesota are testing the drug in people who live with coronavirus patients to see whether it can protect them.