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What Is Hydroxychloroquine and How Does It Help Arthritis

By February 1, 2019Medicine, What Is

Hydroxychloroquine is primarily used to treat or prevent malaria that is caused by mosquito bites. It is not effective against chloroquine-resistant malaria strains. It can also be used in conjunction with other prescription medications to treat a variety of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are serious and debilitating to a lot of patients. It’s important to seek treatment with a specialist who can help. In some situations, you or your loved one may be eligible for free home health care services that can help alleviate some of the financial burden if he or she has worked for the DOE in the nuclear energy sector.

What is Hydroxychloroquine?

Also called Plaquenil, hydroxychloroquine is a disease-modifying drug that can help decrease both the swelling and pain of rheumatoid arthritis. According to Rheumatology.org, there is not a clear reason why hydroxychloroquine is so effective in treating autoimmune diseases. It is potentially because the drug interferes with the immune system’s cells’ communications.

It’s classified as a DMARD, which stands for disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug. The original classification was as an antimalarial drug and it was later determined to be effective in treating autoimmune diseases that are not related to malaria. Hydroxychloroquine is often used alone as monotherapy for mild cases of rheumatoid arthritis or in combination with other DMARDs to treat moderate to severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Symptoms can be really different between patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Some patients report little to no symptoms for months at a time, while others have debilitating pain that keeps them from living a normal life. Rheumatoid arthritis primarily starts in your joints, and symptoms of RA include:

  • Stiffness in the joints, especially common in the mornings. This stiffness differs from regular arthritis where some people can be up and moving shortly. With RA, it can be hours before joints feel loose enough to move.
  • There is typically a lot of pain from inflammation inside the joints. The pain can be present even if you aren’t moving. Over time, the pain will cause damage as well.
  • There is fluid in the joints that can make them puffy and tender.
  • Some joints will be red and feel warm which is an indication of inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis typically starts in the hands, but it can affect a number of your other joints as well, including:

  • Feet
  • Neck
  • Hips
  • Wrists
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Jaw
  • Knees

With RA, the symptoms are usually symmetrical. If you have pain in a joint on one side of your body, it will show up on the same joint on the other side. Some patients even have nodules under their skin that are caused by RA.

In severe cases, rheumatoid arthritis can cause pain throughout your entire body, including:

  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Poor appetite
  • Depression

RA can cause significant health problems if not treated. Two especially dangerous concerns are inflammation around the lining of your heart, which is known as pericarditis, and pleurisy, which is damage or inflammation around your lungs. RA can raise the risk of stroke, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.

Getting the Most Out of Your Benefits

At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, our mission is to help qualified individuals receive the free home healthcare services they are entitled to. To find out more about the services we offer and who can qualify, contact us at 888-298-8126 today. A DOL EEOICPA can be a huge help to those who qualify.