Hydroxychloroquine

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Drug Information

Hydroxychloroquine is used to prevent and treat acute attacks of malaria and to treat both acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It is in a class of drugs known as antimalarials.

Common brand names:

Plaquenil

Summary of Interactions with Vitamins, Herbs, & Foods

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • Calcium and Vitamin D

    Normally, the active form of vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium into the body. In a 45-year-old woman with sarcoidosis, taking hydroxychloroquine blocked the formation of active vitamin D, which helped normalize elevated blood levels of calcium in this case.1 Whether hydroxychloroquine has this effect in people who don’t have sarcoidosis or elevated calcium is unknown. Until controlled research explores this interaction more thoroughly, people taking hydroxychloroquine might consider having their vitamin D and/or calcium status monitored by a health practitioner.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • Vitamin B6

    An individual who took hydroxychloroquine and vitamin B6 together for nine years experienced a complete disappearance of skin nodules caused by rheumatoid arthritis.2 Controlled study is needed to determine whether taking vitamin B6 with or without hydroxychloroquine might help eliminate nodules in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Reduces Effectiveness

  • Magnesium

    Magnesium supplementation may reduce blood levels of chloroquine, a compound similar to hydroxychloroquine, and decrease its effectiveness.3 Until more is known, people taking hydroxychloroquine for arthritis who are also using magnesium supplements and are not experiencing relief might try avoiding the supplements or taking them at separate times.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Potential Negative Interaction

  • none

Explanation Required 

  • none

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

References

1. Barre PE, Gascon-Barre M, Meakins JL, Goltzman D. Hydroxychloroquine treatment of hypercalcemia in a patient with sarcoidosis undergoing hemodialysis. Am J Med 1987;82:1259-62.

2. McCarty DJ. Complete reversal of rheumatoid nodulosis. J Rheumatology 1991;18:736-7.

3. Olin BR, ed. Anti-infectives, Antimalarial Preparations, 4-Aminoquinoline Compounds. In Facts and Comparisons Drug Information. St. Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons, 1993, 1913-6.