Can Hydroxychloroquine be Purchased Over the Counter?
No. Hydroxychloroquine is not an OTC (over-the-counter) drug like Tylenol or Nexium where you can just buy it from your local pharmacy in US. Therefore, the standard route of requiring a prescription and then having a pharmacist fill the prescription is required. On how to get hydroxychloroquine prescription, please refer to this directory.
Since the outbreak of the SARS-CoV2 virus, COVID-19 disease, there has been a lot of confusion regarding which medical products will work to treat the virus and the disease. The world is working to develop drugs for the SARS-CoV2 virus and Covid-19 disease, and the FDA is searching for a drug or combination that prove to be effective. Some drugs are in clinical trials, and scientists are also testing whether a drug approved for another virus or disease will be safe and effective for Sars-V2 and COVID-19. This is called “off-label prescription.”
Healthcare providers might use these drugs for Covid-19 patients as off label prescription use. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and other COVID-19 medications can be obtained by prescription in the USA in almost every state. Licensed physicians are available via telemedicine for a short consultation. The telemedicine physician will review your history.
Once the FDA approves a drug, healthcare providers may, at their discretion, prescribe the drug for unapproved use not described in the approved labeling (off label prescription use) based on their expertise and judgment. For example, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is FDA approved to treat malaria, lupus, and arthritis, but some medical experts are prescribing it for treating COVID. However, since the clinical trials have just started, the FDA is waiting for the scientific data that will demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of HCQ in treating Sars-V2 and Covid-19. The FDA has issued an Emergency Use Allowance -EUA to allow access of HCQ from Strategic national Stockpile for the treatment of particular Sars-V2/Covid-19 patients who are not liable for clinical studies. HCQ is available nationwide, and it is distributed for its approved uses, and they may be prescribed for off label (non-labeled) uses too like for the treatment of Sars-V2/Covid-19 patients.
HCQ is in a class of drugs called antimalarial, and it is FDA approved for the treatment of acute attacks of malaria. It is also used for the treatment of immunodeficiency diseases such as lupus and arthritis. Hydroxychloroquine has been an approve FDA drug for about 70 years with almost no known side effects. There is a lot of media attention on Hydroxychloroquine’s use in relation to Sars-V2 and Covid-19. Many doctors are prescribing it and seeing positive results while others are waiting for FDA approval.
Both are antimalarial drugs, and they are quite similar. The brand name for HCQ is Plaquenil, whereas it is Aranel for Chloroquine. They both are used to treat several forms of malaria, and HCQ is used in addition to treating lupus and arthritis, whereas Chloroquine is used off label to treat porphyria.
HCQ comes in a tablet form, and it is to be administered orally. If you are taking it to prevent malaria, one dose is usually taken on the same day of each week. It is usually taken once or twice a day for lupus and arthritis. If an adult is traveling to a place where malaria is common, HCQ is indicated for prophylaxis of malaria. The medication is started two weeks before exposure and continues till four weeks after departure from the endemic area. The use of HCQ for Sars-V2 or Covid-19 should only be taken with a Doctors prescription.
What is the dosage for HCQ?
One tablet of HCQ typically contains 200 mg HCQ. For malaria prophylaxis, the dosage could be 400 mg and is to be taken orally once a week. For acute malaria, higher mg doses can be taken as an initial dose, followed by doses taken at 6, 24, and 48 hours after the initial dose. For lupus, it could be 200-400 dose per day be divided into one or two doses. For arthritis, it can be prescribed to take 400-600 mg as initial dosage, and for maintenance, 200-400 gm dose should be taken per day.
Take the dose as soon as you remember it. If it is time for the next dose, then skipped dose should be missed, and regular dosing should be followed. Double dosing should not be taken to make up for a missed dose.
HCQ can be prescribed by a doctor and can only be purchased through a pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription. In the US, it cannot be bought over the counter, and a doctor’s prescription is required.
The cost of HCQ tablets generally ranges from $0.37 to $0.99. DoctorsHome is not a pharmacy, but the pharmacies that are connected to the online doctor’s network provide the most competitive pricing for HCQ. Feel free to talk to a doctor and get your questions and concerned answered if HCQ is right for you.
This is a question only a doctor can provide more insight into. There are too many variables to know how fast hydroxychloroquine will work and benefit you.
Hydroxychloroquine has been approved by the FDA for about 70 years with practically no major side effects. It is rare to experience any side effects, but HCQ may cause headaches, nausea, rashes, diarrhea, and visual problems. Healthcare providers will prescribe a safe dosage according to the patient weight, and the patient is required to regularly monitor their eyes.
Many scientists have tested HCQ for the treatment of Sars-V2 and Covid-19. Some doctors are looking at prophylaxis use of HCQ to help in a reduction in hospitalization rates and reduced the death rate. Also, many doctors have stated that the use of HCQ with zinc and azithromycin has shown promising results, and these medications can be used for treating Sars-V2 and Covid-19 patients. However, as of August 2020, HCQ is not FDA approved for the treatment of Covid, but still, FDA issued a EUA to allow HCQ for the treatment of Sars-V2 and Covid-19 based on best available evidence and at the doctors discretion. Based on ongoing clinical trials of Hydroxychloroquine results, the FDA will take action regarding the use of HCQ for Sars-V2 and Covid-19 once those clinical trials are completed.