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Plaquenil vs. Prednisone

Reviewed on 4/2/2019

Are Plaquenil and Prednisone the Same Thing?

Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) and prednisone are used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Plaquenil is also used to treat or prevent malaria, and to treat symptoms of discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus.

Prednisone is also used to treat or manage many conditions, including endocrine disorders, collagen diseases, dermatologic diseases, allergies, ophthalmic (eye) diseases, respiratory diseases, hematologic disorders, neoplastic diseases (cancers), edematous states, and gastrointestinal diseases.

Brand names for prednisone include Deltasone, Rayos, and Prednisone Intensol.

Plaquenil and belong to different drug classes. Plaquenil is an antimalarial medication and prednisone is a glucocorticoid.

Side effects of Plaquenil and prednisone that are similar include nausea, vomiting, or headache.

Side effects of Plaquenil that are different from prednisone include stomach pain or cramps, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, dizziness, spinning sensation, ringing in your ears, mood changes, nervousness, irritability, skin rash, itching, or hair loss.

Side effects of prednisone that are different from Plaquenil include acne, thinning skin, weight gain, restlessness, and trouble sleeping.

Both Plaquenil and prednisone may interact with antibiotics, tuberculosis medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), HIV/AIDS medications, estrogens (including oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy), or seizure medications.

Plaquenil may also interact with acetaminophen, cancer medications, arthritis medications, ACE inhibitors, antifungals, or cholesterol medications.

Prednisone may also interact with potassium-depleting agents (e.g., amphotericin B, diuretics), anticholinesterase, anticoagulants, antidiabetic drugs, bupropion, cholestyramine, cyclosporine, digitalis glycosides, barbiturates , rifampin, azole antifungals, quetiapine, skin tests, thalidomide, and live or inactivated vaccines.

QUESTION

The term arthritis refers to stiffness in the joints. See Answer

What Are Possible Side Effects of Plaquenil?

Common side effects of Plaquenil include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • stomach pain or cramps,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weight loss,
  • diarrhea,
  • dizziness,
  • spinning sensation,
  • headache,
  • ringing in your ears,
  • mood changes,
  • nervousness,
  • irritability,
  • skin rash,
  • itching, or
  • hair loss.

Tell your doctor if you experience serious side effects of Plaquenil including:

  • muscle weakness,
  • twitching,
  • uncontrolled movement,
  • loss of balance or coordination,
  • blurred vision,
  • light sensitivity,
  • seeing halos around lights,
  • pale skin,
  • easy bruising or
  • bleeding,
  • confusion,
  • unusual thoughts or behavior, or
  • seizures (convulsions).

What Are Possible Side Effects of Prednisone?

Common side effects of Prednisone include:

  • headache,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • acne, thinning skin,
  • weight gain,
  • restlessness, and
  • trouble sleeping.

Tell your doctor if you experience serious side effects of prednisone including

What Is Plaquenil?

Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is an antimalarial medication used to treat or prevent malaria, a disease caused by parasites, which enter the body through the bite of a mosquito. Plaquenil is also used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus. Plaquenil is available in generic form.

What Is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a glucocorticoid indicated to treat or manage many conditions, including endocrine disorders, rheumatic disorders, collagen diseases, dermatologic diseases, allergies, ophthalmic (eye) diseases, respiratory diseases, hematologic disorders, neoplastic diseases (cancers), edematous states, and gastrointestinal diseases. Prednisone tablets are available in generic form.

What Drugs Interact With Plaquenil?

Plaquenil may interact with acetaminophen, cancer medications, tuberculosis medications, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, arthritis medications, ACE inhibitors, antibiotics, antifungals, cholesterol medications, HIV/AIDS medications, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or seizure medications. Tell your doctor all medications you use.

What Drugs Interact With Prednisone?

Prednisone may interact with diuretics (water pills), blood thinners, cyclosporine, insulin or oral diabetes medications, rifampin, azole antifungals, or seizure medications.

Prednisone may also interact with antibiotics, anticholinesterase, isoniazid, bupropion, cholestyramine, cyclosporine, digitalis glycosides, estrogens (including oral contraceptives), barbiturates, ritonavir, indinavir, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), quetiapine, skin tests, thalidomide, and live or inactivated vaccines.

Following prolonged therapy, withdrawal of corticosteroids such as dexamethasone or prednisone may result in symptoms of the corticosteroid withdrawal syndrome including muscle or joint pain and feeling unwell (malaise).

SLIDESHOW

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)? Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis See Slideshow

How Should Plaquenil Be Taken?

The adult dose of Plaquenil to suppress malaria is 400 mg on the same day each week. The pediatric weekly suppressive dosage is 5 mg/kg of body weight. The adult dose of Plaquenil to treat an acute attack of malaria is an initial dose of 800 mg followed by 400 mg in six to eight hours and 400 mg for two more days. To treat lupus erythematosus, the average adult dose is 400 mg once or twice daily.

How Should Prednisone Be Taken?

The initial dosage of prednisone may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the specific disease entity being treated.

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Drug information found in the drug comparisons published on RxList.com is primarily sourced from the FDA drug information. The drug comparison information found in this article does not contain any data from clinical trials with human participants or animals performed by any of the drug manufacturers comparing the drugs.

The drug comparisons information provided does not cover every potential use, warning, drug interaction, side effect, or adverse or allergic reaction. RxList.com assumes no responsibility for any healthcare administered to a person based on the information found on this site.

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If you have specific questions regarding a drug’s safety, side effects, usage, warnings, etc., you should contact your doctor or pharmacist, or refer to the individual drug monograph details found on the FDA.gov or RxList.com websites for more information.

You may also report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA by visiting the FDA MedWatch website or calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

References

FDA. Plaquenil Product Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/009768s037s045s047lbl.pdf
FDA. Prednisone Product Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2012/202020s000lbl.pdf
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