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In: Blog, Corona Virus, Disease information, Frequently Asked Questions, Rheumatology

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Most of those taking hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, will be aware that the drug is in demand as a an experimental treatment for Corona virus infections.

As a result, some patients are finding it difficult to get timely supplies from their pharmacy.

Despite reassurance from the HSE that stocks are being managed to ensure supply, I have had a few calls from patients experiencing difficulty getting their medications.

If you are on Hydroxychloroquine and are unable to get your regular supply, here’s a few suggestions I have been making to my patients;

Phone around. Some pharmacies may stocks in place even if your regular pharmacy is having difficulty sourcing your medications.

Don’t panic. In the same way it can take some time for hydroxychloroquine to start working, it may also take some time to wear off.  It takes approximately 40 days for the drug to clear completely from your system (although your symptoms may return before that). Manufacturing of this drug is being ramped up so it is my hope that additional supplies will become available soon.

A dose reduction can be considered. For patients who have some drug left, it may be possible to reduce the dose to delay the time it will take for your disease to flare. If you are a patient of mine and want to consider this, please ask before doing this.

If you get a flare of your arthritis / lupus. In the event that you are a patient of mine and develop a disease flare, please arrange an appointment. I am doing nearly all of my appointments using video consultations at the moment so should be able to help.

How to contact us. If you are an existing patient of mine, please contact my office on suite.19@galwayclinic.com (not entirely GDPR compliant but I’ll leave that up to you). The phones are rather busy at the moment – thanks for your patience.

This post should not be taken as medical advice and is for informational purposes only.