Plaquenil can cause back and leg pain? What type?

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   Posted 7/18/2008 11:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I started Plaquenil 7 days ago. On day three I awoke with severe left sided back and buttock pain. I could not bear weight on my leg. This pain has persisted all week. I read in the patient information sheet that one should notify their doctor immediately if they developed arm, leg or back pain. I dutifully called my rheumy's office only to find out he was out of town until Monday. I saw a vascular surgeon today and per his recommendation tried to get medical assistance at the clinic my PCP works at. No way could I get in there. Then I hobbled over to the ER [my only other option at this major military medical facility]. There were at least 75 other patients ahead of me and I simply could not wait since I cannot sit nor stand.
My question - does anyone recall anyone else complaining here about Plaquenil causing extreme back or leg pain? I have already decided to stop taking it until I can speak with my rheumy. I have another medical condition that could cause this severe back pain. I'm thinking this is likely a coincidence that I developed this problem right after starting the Plaquenil.
Also, does anyone know what typr of muscle damage Plaquenil can cause?
Thanks for your opinions.....
Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, and a host of other medical problems.

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   Posted 7/18/2008 11:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I've never noticed anyone here talking about encountering such a problem. I think it is probably a good idea to be cautious and stop taking the med until you can get further advice from your dr.

Nor have I heard that plaquenil can cause muscle damage...

Hopefully you'll be able to get to the bottom of this quickly -- please let us know how it turns out -- sorry not to be able to offer any better help, perhaps someone will come along soon who has experienced muscle problems w/plaquenil. (Generic or brand?)


Lynnwood, Co-Moderator: Lupus Forum
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   Posted 7/19/2008 10:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Ides, what you are going through must be one of the more rare side effects. I agree with Lynnwood about being cautious and stop taking plaquenil until you can talk to your doc. I hope you get some answers soon and that you also get some relief from your pain. Take care.
Diagnosis:  UCTD (lupus) 2006; Raynauds 2006; Sjogren's 2006; lupus symptoms began 2003; UC 2008; CFS 1991; Mono 1985
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   Posted 7/20/2008 8:25 PM (GMT -6)   
My rheumy's nurse said they will squeeze me in tomorrow. I stopped the Plaquenil on Friday and day by day I am able to walk more normally. Last night was the first night I did not awaken everytime I turned in my sleep. I'll let you all know what the rheumy says tomorrow. Thanls for the input!
Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, and a host of other medical problems.

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   Posted 7/20/2008 8:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ides, definitely I would talk to the doc about it with regard to the plaquenil. Maybe it is hurting your kidney on that side or something. It's worth talking about. Liver pain is usually near the shoulder, upper right quandrant, but sometimes the thin edge of the liver is effected causing pain more toward the left. I got severe pain that I thought might be due to meds and my gi did an endoscope and colonoscopy and found the source of pain. He removed a polyp, which was pre-cancerous and I felt alot better. so it's definately worth following through. Perhaps its a combination of medicine irritating an existing problem.

I hope you feel better.
Love, Marji
--Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us. Bill Watterson (1958-) cartoonist "Calvin and Hobbes"
Ills--Sjogrens-Lupus-like AI Disease, Hashis, Vitiligo, spinal stenosis/fusion with plate, salivary/lymphectomies, Diabetes, NAFLD, COPD, RLS, neuropathy, trigonitis, hystero, diffuse brain atrophy, GI nightmare
Meds--Plaquenil, Evoxac, Metformin, Synthroid, HCTZ, Estradiol patch, Prosed, Detrol, Klonopin, Ultram, Vicodin, Restasis, Albuterol, steroid injections and pred prn

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
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   Posted 1/8/2012 10:43 AM (GMT -6)   
I also started plaquenil 4 days ago and yesterday my lower back started to hurt and today its worse! I was wondering what the rheumy said about the back pain. It hurts to breathe sometimes and I just want it to go away. Flexeril and ibuprofen don't touch the pain. I need some advice before calling my rheumy.

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   Posted 1/8/2012 12:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to Healing Well

If you are having unexplained pain please call your doctor.

This thread is from 2008 so you probably will not hear from the people who had the original problem here.

Hope you feel better soon,
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 79
   Posted 1/8/2012 5:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Welll honey I am on the two month mark with Plaquenil and doing pretty good, the up and down I experience is with the steroid dose. I also have a HUGE problem with the Dr ego and getting them to listen to me. I had gastric bypass 9 years ago and with this surgery that has darn near killed me I have a SERIOUS absorption issue with any mediction, food, pretty much anything I ingest. So I do better on what is seemingly a higher disage of steroids. I can say in the last 6 months of sheer hell that I almost died I have had three weeks that I didn't feel like and or wish i would just just disappear. I take 200mg of Plaquenil one day and 400mg the other. I take 10mg of prednizone 2x daily and that is when i feel like I am alive. I can actually stay awake a little bit and I wake up feeling like I did actually sleep. I am so very frustrated by all of this and I guess it would be hard to see the profile on here of all that has basically led me to this point but I am not a huge fan of doctors right now although I work for a new one now and he is quite amazing and does seem to actually listen and take into account what I am saying which I am still in shock over. I have lost well over half of my hair and if ONE MORE MAN says to me well I thought your hair looked good today I just may end up in a psych ward for a minute. I only wash or nearly even touch my hair about 1 to every 1.5 weeks, now with the Plaquenil and steroids it is slowing but my hair is gone and wirery and thank goodness dry enough to handle the fact that I don't wash it or manipulate it very much. It is a little better though but one day my husband had to come plunge the drain while I was in the shower I lost so much that day. I have to take a valium to wash my hair. Finally with the steroids and trmt my ANA is down from 1:320 to 1:160 and my liver enzymes are about back to normal so that is good. Since the surgery that almost ended my life and changed me forever I am afraid of being put to sleep so I do not want to have a liver biopsy right now.
As for you sweetie you may want to hang on a minute with the Plaquenil unless that symptom is more unbarable than what made you take it in the first place. You couldn't possibly have come to a better place for support though, these people here are so kind and supportive and they truly believe in the "No question is stupid theory" so never be afraid to say or ask what you feel as forgetful as most of us are hec maybe we forgot to ask and it was your day to remember LOL. Good luck sweetie!

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/2/2013 10:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ides, I have found your question because, after taking Plaquenil for 2 weeks, I have extreme lower back pain. I checked out 'side effects of Plaquenil' on the Internet before contacting my Rheumy . On stopping the medication for 24 hours I had an improvement, but on day 2 of re-taking Plaquenil, the lower back pain (which seems to be in my spine) has come back. I can hardly move because of it.
I'm of to phone my Rheumy straight away. Thanks for your post. I'll let you know the outcome.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/22/2013 11:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Did anyone ever figure out if Plaquenil was causing the back pain? I have experienced an unusual severe ache in my upper back since starting it.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 4/22/2013 6:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't know. I've been on 800mg a day for two years and I don't have the type of pain they all discussed in this thread.
You may want to start a new thread and ask this question. You might get lost in this old thread.
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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/6/2013 4:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been on 400 mg daily of Plaquenil, last week my doctor took me off of it ue to increase in the pain I had been having in lower back and unbelievable pain in my left leg and especially the extreme pain in the heel of my left foot. It was becoming painful to walk. After 5 days of stopping Plac.the pain was 80% better. Now I am dealing with the side effects of new med.oral methotrexate. This med is kicking me in the britches. Anyone else had bad sick spell with methotrexate. I asked my dr to prescribe by injection form but wasnt knowledgable on prescribing on that level. Looking for research & etc on injectable methatrexate, patient administered injections. Please share your articles and pubucations.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/23/2013 7:43 AM (GMT -6)   
I know this is an old topic...I believe the original post was in 2008....but I am so glad that I found it.

I have been told I have RA. I have no pain but my left ankle swelled up every day for months so the Rheumy put me on Plaquenil. Within a couple of weeks I had pain in my sciatic nerve and it happened to be right at the time of my Rheumy appt. He gave me a shot for it and within a couple days the pain was gone. Two weeks later, I had gone for a long walk on the boardwalk with my hubby and the next day I woke up with such pain in my lower back but I could walk and didn't think much of it. Back to the Rheumy for a follow up and I told him how wonderful the shot was and because I had not had the pain in my lower back at the time I forgot to mention it. The very next day I was coming in from my backyard and was wiping my feet on the mat at the door and the pain that shot up from my lower back to my right shoulder was SCARY. I hobbled to the medicine cabinet, took a few ibuprofen...but on a heating pad and sat for the rest of the day. The next day I woke up and my vision was blurry. That is when I decided to look up the side effects of the Placquenil. Two of the side effects that are listed as "serious" are back pain and blurred vision. I called the dr but he had already closed for the weekend so I took the meds until Sunday when I woke up with a pain under my right shoulder that evening the pain was so excruciating that I could barely breathe (my blurry vision came and went that one day). I stopped taking the meds and called the dr the next morning. It took me 2 weeks before I felt I was back to my old self. I didn't even realize that I had a terrible case of the blues as I'm back to no pain and a swollen ankle at the end of every day and happy to be me again. I go back to the Dr next month. I will come back on here to report what the Dr says. I am so glad I found this forum and I hope that if someone else Googles their symptoms they will find this and know sooner than I did to quit taking the meds and call their dr immediately.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/9/2015 9:00 PM (GMT -6)   
YES! I noticed blurry vision and HORRIBLE pain in my left hip that radiated to back and down leg and bad tailbone pain. I even went and had a hip xray thinking I had injured myself washing my car. Xray was fine. I quit the Placquenil and voila, my leg pain is way better and tailbone and back pain almost gone. No more blurry vision either. I feel like doing something now and before all I wanted to do was lay there or sleep. Guess I just can't take this drug. Didn't notice any good things about taking it.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/5/2017 5:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I take Plaque for SLE. I aM thankful to have read your post. I tried hard last week to take it daily ( bow out usually due to the issue with eyesight) .By day 3 my left groin felt like it was being ripped apart. The pain generates down my left leg. I thought it was pain from my back surgery.
I will be calling my Rhumo 1st thing Monday.
Thank you, Deb
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