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Experience with the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of lupus erythematosus


Correspondence: Yoko Momose, M.D., 9-1 Akashi-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8560, Japan. Email


Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is generally used to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in Western countries. However, chloroquine retinopathy became a problem in Japan, and chloroquine has never been used since then. Even now HCQ remains non-approved. Therefore, the Japanese Hydroxychloroquine Study Group has been organized, and activities have started to have HCQ approved within Japan. In the present study, we investigated the effectiveness of HCQ against the skin manifestations of lupus erythematosus. There were seven patients, all female, and they consisted of four patients with SLE (skin lesion type: discoid lupus erythematosus [DLE] in three, subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus in one and lupus erythematosus profundus in one), two patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus (both DLE), and one patient with a combination of SLE and dermatomyositis. HCQ was effective in three patients and ineffective in the two patients. We could not judge the efficacy of HCQ in the other two patients. There were no adverse effects in any of the patients. Efficacy was exhibited against telangiectasia and erythema. HCQ is also an effective and safe treatment for Japanese patients, and it is hoped that it will be approved for use in Japan very soon.