DISEASE-MODIFYING ANTIRHEUMATIC DRUG (DMARD)
Aralen is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1949 to treat malaria. Aralen is also prescribed to treat inflammation associated with lupus. Aralen is also known by its drug name, Chloroquine.
Aralen may not be appropriate for people with certain vision conditions or known hypersensitivity to related drugs. Aralen should be used with caution by people who have auditory damage, liver disease, alcoholism, or a history of epilepsy.
Aralen is a disease-modifying drug originally developed to treat malaria. Aralen is believed to work by interfering in communication between the cells of the immune system.
How do I take it?
You may need to see an ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) for a checkup before beginning to take Aralen. Your doctor may ask you to return to the ophthalmologist for exams every six months in order to check for side effects relating to your vision taking Aralen.
Aralen is usually taken once a day. Always take Aralen with food. Your symptoms may begin to improve within one or two months of starting Aralen; however, some people do not show signs of improving until they have been taking Aralen for several months.
Do not smoke while taking Aralen. Smoking can reduce the benefits Aralen provides.
You may experience a lupus flare if you stop taking Aralen.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Aralen.
A trial conducted in 1953 investigated the effects of Chloroquine (Aralen) treatment on 30 people with discoid lupus. Researchers concluded that treatment with Chloroquine furnished significant improvement in early cases of dermatological lupus symptoms.
Most people do not experience side effects from taking Aralen. Among those who do, common side effects include blurred vision, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, and diarrhea. These side effects often decrease over time. If your side effects worsen, contact your doctor.
Aralen can cause serious, irreversible eye damage. For this reason, it is important to receive periodic exams by an ophthalmologist.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience vision changes, hearing changes, mood changes, pain in the arms, legs or back, fast heartbeat, worsening of skin problems, swelling in the feet or ankles, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or changes in hair such as loss or color change while taking Aralen.
Seek emergency medical help if you experience fainting, seizures, or changes to your heartbeat, whether it becomes faster, slower, or irregular.
Rarely, Aralen can also cause allergic reactions. Get medical help immediately if you experience difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.