The prescribing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine by consultant rheumatologists in the UK

E A Kay, J A Rees, M I Jayson
British Journal of Rheumatology 1987, 26 (5): 375-8
A questionnaire on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine prescribing was circulated nationally to 212 consultant rheumatologists and 119 replies were analysed. Of all patients receiving second-line drugs, 10% were prescribed antimalarials, with hydroxychloroquine being used four times more frequently than chloroquine. Eighty-five per cent of rheumatologists always used the same dose of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine. Only 5% considered patient's weight in deciding the dose. Fear of ocular toxicity was expressed by many physicians; 54% had experienced corneal deposits; 4% retinopathy and 40% believed cumulative dose determined toxicity. Much confusion existed over the necessity for and frequency of ophthalmological monitoring. Only 56% requested ophthalmological tests before commencing treatment, although 86% monitored the eyes during therapy. Other side-effects were believed to affect 1-10% of patients, with no anticipated difference between doses of 250 mg chloroquine and 400 mg hydroxychloroquine daily.

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