Plaquenil Withdrawal

Saturday was a week since I stopped taking Plaquenil, aka Hydroxychloroquine, per my doctor’s instructions, and I think I am going through some form of withdrawal.

Plaquenil is used in the treatment of sarcoidosis but its main use is in the treatment of malaria. One of the side effects of taking the drug is that it affects eye sight, and eye tests, especially field of vision tests need to be done every six months.

For the four years that I took the drug, my eye sight never bothered me and bi-annual eye tests revealed no changes. As a matter of fact, my eye sight improve slightly. The only change was that I needed reading glasses now, but that happens to most people anyway when they hit their late forties.

I stopped the drug last week Saturday and last Monday night I developed a terrible migraine, and I have intermittent headaches all week. Add dizzy spells and some joint and tendon pain, and I think I am going through withdrawal. My eyes are also a little funny. Seems that I am having trouble focusing a bit.

Hope this all goes away in the next week or two, but I guess I answered my own question last week about if there are withdrawal effects from stopping the drug.

18 thoughts on “Plaquenil Withdrawal

    • Hi and welcome. It was my sarcoidosis doctor that stopped the drug, and I too asked about coming off slowly, but he want to stop completely because my white blood count was dropping monthly. I retake a blood test in two weeks to see if my blood count increases. This way they know it is that particular drug.


      • Oh I was going to ask why you stopped but you just explained it here. You better tell him immediately about the withdrawal side effects so he can prescribe you something else for it or something.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I was forced to stop taking it after being on Plaquinel for 13yrs because I lost my health insurance and have no $ to pay for it so I stopped it..


  1. I’ve been on plaquenil for about two weeks. It took about 7 days before I found myself itching everywhere on my body. The doctor told me today that I should top taking it because he felt the 20 mg of prednisone was okay for now. Not a big fan of plaquenil.


  2. I was off of Plaquenil for 20 days. Yesterday was the worst. I couldn’t open up my fingers or un-bend my arms. I was off of it because of a so called shortage. My eyes have been terribly un-focused and I have been in pain for most of that time.I was put on Imuran during this time, which I felt did nothing to stop the pain of R.A.A I was thinking Plaquenil was not helping with my symptoms, but I was so wrong! We have just received a shipment of it here and I started back on it. I wondered if anyone else experienced this much pain. THanks for posting


    • Holly, sorry you are having such ahard time. I know I was in pain and discomfort for a couple of weeks and it eventually went away, but I suppose because you have RA, it made your situation worse. Hope you feel better soon or they get a new supply of the drug.


  3. I have been taking 200 mg of Plaquenil for several years for lupus. Because I haven’t been going to the eye doctor on a regular basis, my rheumy cut it in half a year ago. He has now taken me off of it completely. However, I have continued to take what I had left. I have now been totally off of it for 2 days. Guess we will see what happens. He said I could always go back on it if needed. Since I have seen him, I ended up going to the eye doctor due to problems. Turns out that I have glaucoma. Go figure.

    By the way, a friend sent me this link since he knew I was off of the Plaquenil and wanted to pass along the withdrawal systems. I am glad he did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for dropping by and I am glad that my info was of help to you. I hope you get better. As much I dislike the lab tests and doctors, I make sure to follow a medication’s recommendations as the treatment is usually worse than the disease. Try your best to do whatever tests the drug manufacturer says, because they know more than they are letting out. Just think of every drug as dangerous and research it yourself. Don’t just go by those print outs the pharmacy gives you. Searching on your own reveals a lot more. Wishing you the best. BR


  4. I took it for 10 years and stopped because my eye doctor said my eyes were worse. There’s a new standard to not be on it for more than 5-7 years, because of the risk of eye damage. I’m not driving because my vision is wonky. My eye doctor asked me if my RA doctor didn’t check my chart concerning the negative changes in my eyesight when I saw her 6 months prior. The RA doctor didn’t say anything about my vision then, so I guess oops. I wish I had brought it up after every eye check-up. Why didn’t the eye doctor tell me? It’s my health so from now on I plan on being more alert and assertive. I trusted my doctors to be on top of my health. They are so busy, so I think they may miss something. No excuse- just the way it is. I’ll be a watchdog, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

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