How long does hydroxychloroquine take to work?

I have been on it for only 9weeks so far with no noticeable improvement in joint and muscle pains but my Rheumatologist said I may as well stop taking it. Is this really a long enough trial? So far nothing has really helped so I don't know what to do. I had been having mild side effects like nausea. Any advice would be great please.

8 Replies

  • I noticed a slight difference about 1 month after taking 200mg in the a.m. and 200mg in the p.m. then after 2 months I noticed more of my consistent aches and pains minimizing. They never completely went away but the most of the symptoms died down a lot. I found out that I also have fibromialgia so sometimes the aches are from my fibromialgia and not my lupus. After getting a kanolog steroid shot, I really noticed my symptoms dying down a lot more. The shot seemed to last about 6 months for me. Hope this helps. Never give up trying to see what will help you.

  • Hi I also have Lupus and Fibro. What is a Kanalog steroid shot?

  • My rheumatologist said hydroxychloroquine can take up to three months to work. I'd been on it just over two months before it started to make a difference (200mg morning only). But then a few weeks after that I started on antibiotics and now it doesn't seem to be working as well! I'm seeing my rheumatologist today so it'll be interesting to see what he says. Hope this helps you :)

  • You don't say what dose of Hydroxychloroquine you have been put on. My gut feeling would be to say that 9 weeks is not long enough. I have been taking it since 1994 coupling it with Prednisolone. I was on 400mg per day, 200mg morning and 200mg nightly with a high (20mg) dose of steroid. Now I'm on a maintenance dose of 200mg per day with 5mg Prednisolone. I suppose it doesn't suit everyone but if slight nausea is the only side effect (and I believe this disappears), give Hydroxychloroquine a chance, the alternatives have more severe side effects. I know from experience that some Rheumatologists are reluctant to prescribe steroid treatment because of it's bone thinning and skin thinning side effects on high doses, but it's been a treatment, managed vigilantly, that has worked very successfully for me Thank you to St Thomas'.

  • @rw856 - I have problems with antibiotics, seemingly making symptoms worse. Not sure whether they contra-indicate the Hydroxychloroquine which, I think, is an immuno-suppressant. Perhaps Admin STLT (Angie) could find out, maybe?

  • took approximately 6 months to start working with me! I was told and read that for some people, like everything that is Lupus related,may take sometime to kick in...and for me this is exactly what happened! Hang in!xxDunk

  • Glad to hear everyone's opinions on this as I am about 8 weeks in and feeling awful but rheumatologist did say between 2 and 6 months, so I'm just trying to stay positive about it x good luck x

  • Hello. I think some of my symptoms responded very well to the hydroxychloroquine within 8 weeks (some of the skin problems and the father gradually improved) but others took longer. In fact I would say it was a year before I thought, you know I could see a way forward and felt more like my old self - not 100% but much better than I had been. I started on 400mg a day. I was told to try to reduce this to 200mg just over a year in but I relapsed and put it back up to 400mg. I take 200mg in the morning after breakfast and 200mg after my evening meal - both times with a small glass of milk. This helps the nausea apparently. I think you need to give it longer, apparently it is well known for taking a while to be effective. Good luck.

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