Antibiotics Home > Plaquenil Uses

Several medical conditions can be treated with Plaquenil. Uses of the medication include the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The prescription drug can also be used to treat and prevent certain types of malaria in adults and children. Healthcare providers may occasionally recommend off-label Plaquenil uses as well, such as for treating scleroderma, Lyme disease, or Sjogren's syndrome.

What Is Plaquenil Used For?

Plaquenil® (hydroxychloroquine sulfate) is an anti-malarial medication approved for the following uses:
  • Prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria infections
  • Treatment of lupus (including systemic lupus erythematosus and chronic discoid lupus)
  • Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Using Plaquenil for Malaria

Malaria is a leading cause of death and disease worldwide, especially in developing countries. The cause of malaria is an infection with parasitic bacteria. Plasmodium is the name for the species of microscopic parasites that cause the disease (see Malaria Causes). There are over 100 species of Plasmodium, but only the four following species infect humans:
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Plasmodium ovale
  • Plasmodium malariae.
Plaquenil can prevent only P. falciparum infections (it does not work to prevent the other types) and is only effective for prevention in certain areas of the world. Plaquenil can be used to treat all four types, although it may need to be combined with another malaria medication in order to be effective.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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