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I was prescribed Plaquenil to treat SLE. I did not notice any improvement from when I started it that first time (in the month of April) until over 9 months later. I even suffered a severe flare in which I had to go on prednisone and also battled pleuritis while trying to lower the prednisone.

All that got me to wonder if this drug was going to work for me at all. Then it happened... I did not get the sun sensitive rash on my arms upon the first few minor sun exposures the next spring/summer. The joint pain lessened - but did not go away. My malar rash has all but disappeared for the last several years now. Flares seem to come less often and are less severe than the times when I have not been on Plaquenil.

I was taken off this drug for breastfeeding for over 1.5 years, and while off it all my symptoms worsened terribly, and the rashes returned on the arms/face/v-of-neck. After going back on it, I eventually achieved another reduction in symptoms and rashes so I am sure this drug is producing a real improvement. I will fight the good fight before anyone tries taking me off this drug again, especially for no good reason!

Side effects: both times I had pretty bad diarrhea for up to 1-2 weeks after I first started taking it. I did start off at 400 mg right away. Recently my dose was lowered to 300 mg and I have not noticed any difference in results with the slightly lower dose. Doctor felt for my height/weight/build that 400 was too high a dose for me for the long term.
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