200 mg Limit to Hydroxychloroquine Tablets Challenging for SLE Patients

One-quarter of systemic lupus erythematosus patients in the U.S. taking hydroxychloroquine tablets daily are exceeding the recommended doses for this treatment, and up to one-third of those on alternate-day treatment are forgetting or mixing up their medication, a study reports.

The problem, researchers say, is that only 200 mg tablets exist – and many patients are prescribed a 300 mg dose. New dosage forms are needed to ensure proper treatment, researchers recommend.

The study, “Hydroxychloroquine usage in US patients, their experiences of tolerability and adherence, and implications for treatment: survey results from 3127 patients with SLE conducted by the Lupus Foundation of America,” was published in the journal Lupus Science & Medicine.

The majority of Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are prescribed hydroxychloroquine, called HCQ, a type of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug. HCQ may reduce the risk of flares, allow a reduction of the steroids dosage, and protect against organ damage, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Dosing of hydroxychloroquine is based on the patient’s weight, but the treatment is only available in a 200 mg dose. That can make it challenging for physicians to tailor the dose for each individual patient, leading them to sometimes prescribe complex dosing schedules. Some patients take one tablet one day and then two the next, while others may be directed to cut a tablet in half.

For the full study please click here.