Plaquenil and COVID-19

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Hydroxychloroquine (trade name Plaquenil) is a commonly used medication in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Patients treated with hydroxychloroquine are at some risk of developing vision loss from retinal toxicity. Fortunately, this complication is somewhat rare and usually doesn’t occur until taking the medication for many years. On the other hand, most patients have no early warning symptoms, in the vision loss when it does occur is untreatable.

Ophthalmologists typically monitor these patients for the development of retinal toxicity every 4 to 12 months.

“Highly specialized equipment is needed to detect vision loss and the earliest stage, before symptoms develop,” according to Benjamin Ticho, MD.

Ticho Eye Associates is proud to offer the latest optical coherence tomography angiography, “super fast” visual field testing, and autofluorescence retinal imaging, critical in monitoring patients while they are taking Plaquenil.

Interestingly, hydroxychloroquine might be of use in treating COVID-19, based on experiments with SARS-CoV-2. While this research is quite preliminary, theoretically patients on Plaquenil might have some protection against the Coronavirus.

Benjamin H. Ticho, MD

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.