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Publication Date: May 2001
Revised September 2006
Lupus: A Patient Care Guide for Nurses and Other Health Professionals
Patient Information Sheet #13, Antimalarials
Antimalarials are very effective in controlling lupus arthritis, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, and other symptoms such as fatigue and fever. They are used to manage less serious forms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in which no organs have been damaged. Antimalarials are also very effective in the treatment of discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE).
Although antimalarials may be very effective in controlling your lupus, their use takes patience. It may take weeks or months before you see any change in symptoms from the use of these drugs.
The brand name of your antimalarial is ___________________________________.
The strength or dose of the antimalarial ordered for you is __________________.
Take the antimalarial ______ time(s) per day.
The best time(s) to take your antimalarial:__________________
Possible Side Effects
These include stomach upset, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, difficulty in focusing, headache, nervousness, irritability, dizziness, muscle weakness, dry and itchy skin, mild hair loss, rash, change in skin color, and unusual bleeding or bruising.
There is a small chance that antimalarials will harm a fetus. If you are considering pregnancy, your doctor may take you off the drug.
Do not take more than the recommended dose.
Do not take this drug with other drugs, including over-the-counter medications, without first checking with your nurse or doctor. Over-the-counter medications aremedications that you can buy without a doctor’s prescription.
Tell any nurse, doctor, or dentist who is taking care of you that you are taking an antimalarial for your lupus.
A possible, serious side effect of antimalarials is damage to the retina of the eye. Although this is rare with the low doses of drug that are prescribed, it is extremely important that you have a thorough eye examination before starting treatment with this drug, and every 12 months after that.
Other National Institutes of Health Sponsors
National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institute of Nursing Research
Office of Research on Women's Health