What is hydroxychloroquine?

On Thursday, President Trump discussed a possible expanded use for the drug, hydroxychloroquine, to help combat the coronavirus.


Hydroxychloroquine is a drug that currently is used to treat different types of malaria.

Here is what we know about hydroxychloroquine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

What is hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine (also known as hydroxychloroquine sulfate) is an arthritis medicine that also can be used to prevent malaria. It is available in the United States by prescription only. It is sold under the brand name Plaquenil and it is also sold as a generic medicine. It is available in tablets of 155mg base (200mg salt). You should know that the 155mg base tablet is the same as the 200mg salt tablet. It is just two different ways of describing the same thing. Hydroxychloroquine can be prescribed for either prevention or treatment of malaria. This fact sheet provides information about its use for the prevention of malaria infection associated with travel.

Who can take hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine can be prescribed to adults and children of all ages. It can also be safely taken by pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Who should not take hydroxychloroquine?

People with psoriasis should not take hydroxychloroquine.

How should I take hydroxychloroquine?

Both adults and children should take one dose of hydroxychloroquine per week starting at least 1 week before traveling to the area where malaria transmission occurs. They should take one dose per week while there, and for 4 consecutive weeks after leaving. The weekly dosage for adults is 310mg base (400mg salt).

Your doctor will have calculated the correct weekly dose for your child based on the child’s weight. The child’s dose should not exceed the adult dose of 310mg base (400mg salt) per week

Where can I buy hydroxychloroquine?

Antimalarial drugs are available in the United States by prescription only. Medicines should be obtained at a pharmacy before travel rather than in the destination country. Buying medications abroad has its risks: the drugs could be of poor quality, contaminated, or counterfeit and not protect you against malaria.

In what parts of the world can hydroxychloroquine be used for prevention of malaria in travelers? Hydroxychloroquine can only be used in places where chloroquine (a related medicine) is still effective. There are only a few places left in the world where hydroxychloroquine is still effective including parts of Central America and the Caribbean. CDC keeps track of all the places in the world where malaria transmission occurs and which malaria drugs that are recommended for use in each place.

This information can be found using the malaria map on the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/ malaria/map/index.html.