Is Plaquenil a immunosuppressant drug ?

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HI everyone , I was diagnosed with cutaneous lupus 8 years ago . Had symtoms of malar rash, joint pain especially in hands, fatigue , dry eyes and dry skin .  Had a biopsy of skin and confirmed cutaneous lupus. My SSA was high and ANA positive . I was put on Plaquenil and for the past 8 years I have been fine with it . All of my symtoms pretty much cleared up . Now this year I have been having things pop up that are related to a low immune system. Some of my doctors think It is the Plaquenil causing it but then some say that Plaquenil is not an immunosuppressant drug that for some reason my immune system is out of wack .  I only take 200 mg a day. I tried to only take 100 mg to see if it would make a difference  but I started with terrible joint pain and fatigue so I am back on the 200 mg a day.  Does anybody have any input concerning taking Plaquenil for long term therapy ?  I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you .

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  • Posted

    I have just googled this and found a couple of sites that mention it.

    Apparently it interferes with the communication of cells in immune system

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  • Posted

    Hi Sunflower, I may have the answer for you because I'd asked a pharmacist this very question before going for my annual flu jab earlier this month.

    ?The answer was that while Hydroxychloroquine, (the generic name for Plaquenil and the tablet I take in the same dose as yourself i.e. 200mg a day at the moment), is a disease modifying drug and an anti-malarial, it is also a mild immunosuppressant too. So this could be why your immune system is so low at the moment.

    ?I take the Hydroxychloroquine for a different auto-immune disease to you, it's Sjogren's Syndrome but many of the symptoms of the SS are very similar to some Lupus ones, hence the reason this medication is prescribed for both conditions.

    ?I hope this was helpful? I'd also like to say that I take a zinc tablet which I'm convinced does help my immune system a bit but still feel it's wise to steer clear of anybody with any viruses going around just to be on the safe side.

    ?Oh and it was perfectly safe for me to have my flu jab since the vaccine isn't a live one and I had no side effects from having it this year just as I've not had ever since I've been having it because I'm asthmatic, whereas I was only finally diagnosed with my Sjogren's Syndrome last December.

    ?I wish you well.


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    • Posted

      HI Hippyginger, thank you so much for the info. I didn't mention in the post but I also am being treated for sjogrens because of the high SSA and dry eyes and joint pain. I was put on the Plaquenil because of the cutaneous lupus but Plaquenil has been very good to me . All of my symptoms really went away with the Plaquenil accept for theses past few months. Hopefully my immune system will get back on track. I am not currently taking any multivitamins but I do try to eat healthy. Can you tell me how much zinc do you take ? If there is anything that I can help with the sjogrens please let me know.

      Hope you are doing well.


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    • Posted

      I'm so sorry for not replying sooner to your question Sunflower, but we were away and I didn't have the Zinc tablet bottle with me as I only took what I needed in a dosset box. Now we're home, I can tell you that I take one 25mg tablet a day and buy them from the popular health shop on the High Street, not daring to advertise lol

      ?I can't guarantee they'll work for you but it seems more than a coincidence that in the years I've been taking Zinc in tablet form that I've seemed to avoid most of the nasty viruses flying around. I usually take the combined Magnesium and Zinc tablet which has to be taken twice a day, but they were out of stock when I needed to buy them this time, so opted for separate tablets instead and so far, so good.

      ?I take the Magnesium to help with my muscle cramps that I have as part of my Fibromyalgia and there's another problem. Several of the Sjogren's syndrome symptoms overlap with those of the Fibromyalgia so it's hard to know whether it's one or the other playing up lol

      ?As for your dry eyes though, have you tried any of the long lasting overnight moisture drops at all?  I got very excited at the prospect of these helping when my Rheumatologist told me about them and rushed off to the pharmacy to invest in some, (well, hobbled at speed lol), only to discover that I couldn't risk using them once I'd read the leaflet inside the box. I'm allergic to wool, (and many other things), and it said that the drops contained lanolin from wool! Never mind.

      ?As for your joint pains I can totally empathise with you on that Sunflower. I wonder, if you've had or got, pains along the tops of your feet at all? This is a relatively new pain for me over the past couple of months and not one I'm enjoying either. I already have bilateral Plantar Fasciitis so pains on the heels and arches of both feet so could have done without this new addition. As I say, never sure whether this is a Sjogren's or Fibro symptom? Very confuddling lol

      ?All the best,


      ?P.S. This will be my THIRD attempt to do this reply as the website keeps losing it grrrrrrrr. Finger crossed. Well they would be if they weren't so blooming painful lol

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