I've been on it since last Nov., it's been a miracle drug for me. However, I did have a minor flare and saw rheumy. Had break-through pain, stiffness, fatigue and malar rash, but MUCH better than had I not been taking the Plaquenil. The dr. did extensive bloodwork and my numbers showed me to be flaring just as much as before starting that med. Does Plaquenil simply mask the symptoms or does it keep the lupus in check. I'm asking because my symptoms didn't match my bloodwork. In fact, the cover letter on the bloodwork that was faxed to me said, "Not Good". Does anyone know?
How Do Anti-Malarials Control Systemic Lupus Erythematosus?
Anti-malarials appear to interfere with immune cellular function. The antimalarials are weak bases and can alter the pH inside the cell, thus interfering with intracellular enzyme activity that depends on a more acidic micro environment. When this occurs, there is an anti-inflammatory effect. Many chemicals that participate in the inflammatory cascade are altered, and blood is thinned due to alterations in platelet aggregation.
It is also known that anti-malarials protect against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light and can improve skin lesions.
In addition, anti-malarials combine with certain chemicals or groups of proteins that play a role in the immune response. Anti-malarials have an effect on immune mediators, such as cytokines: They decrease auto-antibody production, inhibit the proliferative response of lymphocytes that are activated, and may have a direct effect on DNA. In these ways anti-malarials have the potential to put the disease into remission.
Thank you for that, it does help a bit. Maybe I haven't been on Plaquenil long enough to see the whole benefit of it. I've heard people going into remission while on this drug. Although I FEEL a whole lot better on it, it's not reflecting in my bloodwork, in fact, it looks even worse. I haven't gotten up the courage to talk to my dr. about these results. But I guess if I'm feeling ok, I shouldn't worry too much just yet. Thanks again for your help.
See I tend to have the opposite effect. I take the 2 200mg plaquenil every day. I go get my labs done and everything looks fine but I am never 100%...sometimes a lot less. Some days I even have to double up on my prednisone to get relief from pain in my hands. I also have been having swelling again in my fingers...for at least a few months now.
8 months ago I was diagnosed with ra and fibro. I suspect my dr. thinks I might also have lupus. I was taken off metho because I developed lesions on my body, and pimple like sores on my forearms, one was more like a lesion and had a lump on it, but weirdest of all is I had this weird looking brusing at the base of my spine. I didn't even know it was there until I was trying to look on my back for sores.
Anyway, he took me off metho and put me on plaquenil, I will be on my 8th day tomorrow so will take two pills of 200. So far, I am really hurting but I think it is because of getting off the metho and the plaquenil not kicking in yet. Its mainly my wrists, calves, ankles and knees. I have two herniated discs so my back is always hurting. I also have begun not sleeping well at night. I quit going to specialists because some said I had ra, some said I had fibro, some did not know what I had. I wonder if I could have ra, fibro and lupus? Does anyone have all of them? Frankly, I am worried and scared.
rubyrearview, Dr. Wallace writes in his lupus hardcover that about 20% of people with lupus fulfill the ACR criteria for fibro. The common causes of fibro in SLE patients are, he writes, active musculoskeletal lupus, viral infection, trauma, and steroid withdrawal. And he notes that fibro responds only temporarily to steroids & often is worse upon withdrawal.
He also cites the most telling symptoms seen in *lupus* that differentiate it from fibro: rashes, swollen joints, anemia, elevated sed rate, high anti-DNA, and low complement levels.
Dr. Wallace also provides telling info about various "diffential Dx'es" to lupus: RA, "rhupus" (a combo of RA & lupus), UCTD (undifferentiated connective tissue disease), MCTD (mixed connective tissue disease), inflammatory myositis, other autoimmunes, and some non-autoimmunes (vrs. hormonal & neurologic disorders, etc.).
So this section of the Wallace book may be just what you're looking for. I think also the links available from the Board here have some similar info, too.
I can truly appreciate your wanting to know, as I spent years being told I had fibro. And CFS. And functional bowel disorder. And possible interstitial cystitis. ETC. And there I was with serious recurring rashes, anemia, swollen joints, etc. At least the good news for you is that you are being treated with a drug, Plaquenil, that's used both in RA & lupus.
I hope this helps some. Hang in there, OK? Sincerely, Vee
Last edited by VeeJ; 04-19-2006 at 05:12 AM.
Reason: Deleting a mistake
Thanks so much for the info, I am really struggling right now with the pain after being taken off the metho and being put on the plaquenel. Today I just started the two a day after taking one a day for 7 days. Do you know how long it usually takes to kick in? My pain medication is not working like it used to at all right now,the pain is so bad. Do you know the name of the book? I want to go to *********** and see if I can buy a copy. Thanks, Shelley T.
Rubyrearview, How long does it take Plaquenil to kick in? I've read, here & elsewhere, as long as 4 to 6 months to FULLY kick in. Which does NOT mean no benefits early on, just that "FULL effect" may take awhile. Personally I got some immediate relief, then even more over time.
On books: you could just ask your bookseller to look up the desired authors, so you'll see all their available titles. I know at least one of the two authors has multiple titles, so you could perhaps leaf the books before committing.