Plaquenil and Weight Loss

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Plaquenil, which is the brand name for hydroxychloroquine, is prescribed primarily for treating acute malaria. It is also prescribed for patients who suffer from lupus or rheumatoid arthritis and have not reacted positively to other medications. Plaquenil’s relationship with weight varies from individual to individual and usually is not a significant side-effect of the drug.

Plaquenil's relationship with weight varies from individual to individual.
Plaquenil's relationship with weight varies from individual to individual. (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

Function

Malaria enters the body and infects red blood cells with its bacteria. Plaquenil, enters these red blood cells and disrupts the activity of the malaria bacteria, reducing its acute effect and eventually eliminating the presence of malaria entirely.

Malaria enters the body and infects red blood cells with its bacteria.
Malaria enters the body and infects red blood cells with its bacteria. (Image: Oleksandr Pekur/iStock/Getty Images)

Arthritis Treatment

According to Netdoctor.co.uk, Plaquenil helps treat auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus by disrupting the body’s production of blood cells that are being used to inflict damage on other cells. In this sense, Plaquenil is able to reduce additional damage from occurring due to antibodies attacking its own body.

Plaquenil helps treat auto-immune disease by disrupting the body's production of blood cells.
Plaquenil helps treat auto-immune disease by disrupting the body's production of blood cells. (Image: Alexander Raths/iStock/Getty Images)

Side Effects

Side-effects for Plaquenil include blurred vision, sensitivity to light, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and decreased visual acuity. Of these, the side-effects involving vision are the most important ones to consider when taking Plaquenil. Difficulty reading and seeing words or objects, suffering blurred distance vision and experiencing black out areas of your vision are signs of Plaquenil induced retinopathy. These particular side-effects should be taken very seriously and are often dose related.

You may experience blurred vision.
You may experience blurred vision. (Image: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)

Weight Loss

Weight loss that occurs during Plaquenil use is likely attributed to a lack of appetite and diarrhea. These two side-effects can account for a minor drop in weight loss. However, the severity of both side-effects will have an effect on how much weight loss occurs. Experiencing severe appetite decrease and diarrhea may not only result in unhealthy weight loss but it should be a cue to discuss the dosage and use of Plaquenil with your doctor.

Weight loss is typically attributed to lack of appetite and diarrhea.
Weight loss is typically attributed to lack of appetite and diarrhea. (Image: IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Weight Gain

It appears that using Plaquenil can indeed result in weight gain. This is only substantiated by anecdotal evidence from some users who have take Plaquenil. In this case, weight gain that occurs during Plaquenil use is likely due to the body reacting to the drug itself. Digestive abnormality, in the form of nausea, diarrhea and constipation, is a side-effect of Plaquenil and may partially be responsible for any weight gain that occurs when on the drug.

Some users report weight gain.
Some users report weight gain. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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