Today's rheumy appt and Rx change

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 4/24/2013 5:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all. Saw my rheumy today. Quick update...had seen him 2 months ago. Tried reducing my pred from 8mg every other day to 4 mg every other day...have been having bad flares. He also had me on 400 mgs of plaquenil for the last couple of months. I have not been officially dx'd with lupus yet. He's been calling it "undifferentiated connective tissue disease" as some blood work has not been conclusive. Although I saw on a referral he gave me today that my ANA was positive. Anyhow, he switched me from plaqenil( hydroxychloroquine) to straight chloroquine 500 mgs and increase the pred to 8 mgs every day for one week then back to 8 mgs every other day. What is the difference between hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine? Same class...and plaquenil is not working so I'm a little confused. He had the pleasure of seeing my butterfly face today so at least it showed up at an opportune time for once.
( and FYI I just had an extremely thorough eye exam and I have to go back in 6 months...he's very proactive that way thank God!)

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 4/24/2013 7:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I couldn't find much differences between the two. I couldn't find where chloroquine is used for lupus but it is used for sarcidosis(?).

It's good your eye doctor is strict at eye follow ups. Mine is a little loose on the exams. In two years of seeing him he's only done two field tests. The first one was at 6 month mark on the nose. The second one was a year later. :(
Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Asthma, Hypothyriodism, Sleep Apnea, Degenerative Disk and Facet Disease, and Allergies

When life throws you lemons....
Pick them up and throw them right back at them! :))

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7723
   Posted 4/24/2013 9:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I think the difference is very subtle - kinda' like the difference between brand name and generic. Some people get different results by switching, while some people's bodies react the same regardless. I hope the switch brings you better results!
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 675
   Posted 4/25/2013 5:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jend - I too have a dx of UCTD with persistant positive ANA but not other antibodies. I've been on Plaquenil nearly 4 yrs. Chloroquine is more potent than HCQ (Plaquenil) - is particularly effective for skin rashes and joint inflammation, and therapeutic benefits are noticeable in a month, as opposed to up to six months for HCQ to reach therapeutic levels. This info comes from The Lupus Book by Daniel Wallace, MD. He states he uses it for patients who can't wait for the time it takes for the HCQ to kick in, but switches patients back over to HCQ within 3-4 mos. to prevent eye toxicity. HCQ is considered a safer drug longterm for most patients. Not sure how long you've been on the HCQ - but it does seem to take most people 3-6 months to achieve full benefit.

I also go every 6 mos. for an eye exam. Good luck - hope you start feeling better soon!

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 4/26/2013 5:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh thank you. I was on the plaquenil for about 5 months. Hopefully the chloroquine will work. I do get very concerned about the eye toxicity tho. From what I read the toxicity from chloroquine is not reversible and more risky. I will take it tho because I know it's risky to have an autoimmune disease and not be on meds...the damage to my joints is there already and I swear some days I can feel it just eating away the healthier joints. So I will be a good little patient.
Undifferentiated connective tissue disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, tmj, arthritis, degenerative disc disease
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