Access to Hydroxychloroquine for People with Lupus
The Lupus Association of NSW is aware of the potential use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that some people with Lupus who use hydroxychloroquine to manage their condition are having difficulty accessing this medication.
Hydroxychloroquine, a medication taken by approximately 90% of lupus patients to control their condition has received a lot of recent media attention as one of the drugs being trialled as a potential treatment for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are anti-malarial medicines that can also be effective for people with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Both drugs have an anti-inflammatory effect and can be helpful in treating joint inflammation and skin.
The effectiveness of these drugs has yet to be established. In the meantime, doctors are being urged to prescribe hydroxychloroquine only for approved indications. People may want to consider contacting their pharmacist to order their medications a week or two in advance of running out.
New restrictions have also been placed on the use of hydroxychloroquine, by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) from the 24th March, to limit the availability to currently approved indications.