Anti Malarial Drugs and Lupus Pain

One of the drugs that are used to treat lupus is the same drug used to treat those with malaria. This medication has a long history. It can be traced back to the early 1800s when Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaimé Caventou, two young French pharmacists, were able to extract a yellow sticky substance from the bark of the Peruvian cinchona tree.


This substance was like gum, and surprisingly would not dissolve in alcohol or be dissolved by acid. They called it quinine. It proved to have a remarkable ability to be affective in the treatment of malaria. Anti-malaria medications were put to good use during the First World War.

Then many years later, in the 1960s, it was found that they could be very useful in the treatment of other things, like the joint pain of arthritis. Not long after that researchers found that it could also be put to good use treating the joint pain of systemic lupus erythematosus. This is the most common and worst of the several types of lupus.

Helps Ease Swelling

The anti-malarial drugs have proven to be good for treating several of the complaints associated with lupus. Studies have shown that they can improve the pain of swollen joints and muscles. They can affect and so make better the inflammation of the linings of both the lungs and the heart.

Anti-malarial drugs can also help with the symptoms of excessive tiredness and fevers. Unfortunately they are not capable of helping with kidney disease issues

Researchers have discovered that between sixty and ninety percent of those with discoid lupus erythematosus, known also as DLE, actually went into remission when taking anti-malarial medications. Those who did not go into remission nonetheless had an overall improvement. This included those with skin lesions that normally responded to creams or lotions but had not. Taking anti-malarial drugs can help these as well.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

In the United States there are three main types of anti-malarial drugs that are recommended for systemic lupus erythematosus; also known as SLE. These include hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine and quinacrine. They all work but hydroxychloroquine has proven to have the least side effects. This makes it the most popular among lupus sufferers. It is available under the brand name Plaquenil.

One question that is always asked is can the anti-malarial drugs be taken with other medications. Yes, they can. There is no reason why the whole range of immunosuppressive drugs, corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs cannot be taken along with the anti-malarial medications. The only thing that a patient should be sure to do first is make certain their health care provider approves whatever medications they are taking.

So, if you health care provider suggests to you that the best things for your joint pain is an anti-malarial drug, do not assume they have lost their mind or that they think you are some other patient. They have your best interests in mind and are prescribing a medication that will go a long way to making you feel much more comfortable