Oxichloroquine

Oxichloroquine, a brand name for a formulation containing essential Hydroxychloroquine, is widely used for various health benefits. This guide provides comprehensive information on the uses, dosage, side effects, and mechanism of action of Oxichloroquine, as well as insights into how long it takes to work. Understanding these aspects can help you make informed decisions about its use and effectiveness.

Oxichloroquine

Oxichloroquine (HCQ) is an antimalarial and anti-inflammatory medication commonly used to treat various autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also used for prevention of malaria due to Plasmodium vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. knowlesi infections, and can be prescribed for treating lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Uses for Oxichloroquine

Oxichloroquine is used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as malaria. It is sometimes prescribed off-label for other conditions, such as to prevent Alcoholic Hepatitis, or to help in the management of discoid lupus erythematosus.

Mechanism of Action

Oxichloroquine is known to inhibit certain enzymes which are involved in the biosynthesis of essential components the malaria’s cell membrane. By blocking these enzymes, hydroxychloroquine hinders the growth and life-cycle of the malaria parasite.

How Long Does It Take To Work?

Oxichloroquine usually takes effect within 4 to 12 weeks after starting treatment, depending on the severity and type of the infection. The effectiveness of the medication can best be seen after at least 8 weeks of treatment.

Absorption, Route of Elimination, and Dosage

Oxichloroquine is generally well-absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. The peak concentration in the blood is usually achieved 1 to 4 hours after oral administration. Its elimination half-life lies between 40 to 50 hours. Oxichloroquine is eliminated both renally (20-30%) as well as non-renally (80-90%).

In adults, hydroxychloroquine is typically prescribed for the treatment of autoimmune diseases in an initial dose of 400-600 mg per day, given as a single daily dose or divided into two doses. In adults, the weekly dose is typically kept between 400 – 600 mg, and the usual maximum daily dose is 6.5-9 mg/kg/day. For children, the dosage is based on the child's weight.

Administration

Oxichloroquine is generally administered orally, but can be administered intravenously as well. It should be taken with food or milk to reduce the gastrointestinal side effects. It is important to note that the medication should not be started, stopped, or changed without consulting your doctor.

Side Effects

Oxichloroquine may cause some common side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of appetite, and rash. More serious side effects may include bone marrow suppression, anemia, tinnitus, loss of vision, and liver and kidney damage. People with pre-existing medical conditions should use this drug with caution.

Toxicity

Overdosing can result in serious toxic effects, like irreversible eye and retinal damage, kidney failure, seizures and abnormal heart rhythms. Toxic side effects can be seen even at low to moderate doses and regular blood tests are sometimes recommended to monitor any potential damage.

Precautions

It is important to talk to your doctor before taking hydroxychloroquine. This drug can cause serious, even life-threatening skin reactions. People with pre-existing medical conditions (e.g., liver or kidney disease, psoriasis, porphyria) should use this drug with caution and should not self-medicate.

Interactions

Oxichloroquine may interact with many other drugs, especially antacids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), penicillins, and immunosuppressant drugs. Before taking hydroxychloroquine, it is important to talk to your doctor about any current medications that you are taking.

Disease Interaction

Oxichloroquine can interact with some conditions, such as psychosocial stress and heart failure. It should also be avoided in certain conditions, such as pregnant women, as there is some evidence of potential risk. It is important to talk to your doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions that you may have before taking hydroxychloroquine.

Drug Interaction

Oxichloroquine can interact with many other drugs, including nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, quinidine, mefloquine, and antacids. It may also interact with certain supplements, such as zinc and calcium. It is important to talk to your doctor about any current medications that you are taking.

Food Interactions

Oxichloroquine may interact with certain foods, such as alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and grapefruit. It is important to talk to your doctor if you are taking any medications or supplements while taking hydroxychloroquine.

Pregnancy Use

Despite having some anti-malarial benefits, hydroxychloroquine is not typically prescribed during pregnancy due to the potential risk of birth defects and other, unknown, risks to the developing fetus. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should talk to their doctor before taking hydroxychloroquine.

Lactation Use

It is not known if hydroxychloroquine passes into breast milk. Women who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctor before taking hydroxychloroquine.

Acute Overdose

It is important not to take more than the prescribed dose of hydroxychloroquine. An acute overdose could result in dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, blurred vision, convulsions, seizures, arrhythmia, and even death. If you think you have taken too much hydroxychloroquine, seek emergency medical attention.

Contraindication

Oxichloroquine is contraindicated in certain people, including those with porphyria, retinal disease, certain blood disorders, and individuals who already have an allergic reaction to chloroquine and other 4-aminoquinolines.

Use Direction

It is important to take hydroxychloroquine exactly as prescribed. Do not take this medication for a longer period than recommended. If you are taking hydroxychloroquine for malaria prophylaxis, it is recommended to take it once a week, on the same day each week. If you are taking hydroxychloroquine to treat autoimmune diseases, you should take it once a day.

Storage Conditions

Oxichloroquine should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from light and moisture. It should be kept out of reach of children and pets.

Volume of Distribution

The volume of distribution for hydroxychloroquine is between 11-17 L/kg.

Half-Life

The elimination half-life of hydroxychloroquine is between 40 to 50 hours.

Clearance

The clearance rate of hydroxychloroquine is 6-10 L/h.

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