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Original research
Clinical impact of hydroxychloroquine dose adjustment according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology guidelines in systemic lupus erythematosus
  1. Ileana Vázquez-Otero1,
  2. Nicolle Medina-Cintrón1,
  3. Mariangelí Arroyo-Ávila1,
  4. Lorena González-Sepúlveda2 and
  5. Luis M Vilá1
  1. 1Division of Rheumatology, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  2. 2Puerto Rico Clinical and Translational Research Consortium, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  1. Correspondence to Dr Luis M Vilá; luis.vila2{at}


Objective The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a maximum hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) dose of ≤5.0 mg/kg/day to reduce the risk of HCQ-induced retinopathy. To determine if this dose adjustment would have an impact on the clinical course of SLE, we compared outcome measures in a cohort of patients with SLE before and after adjusting HCQ dose.

Methods Sixty Puerto Ricans with SLE (per 1997 American College of Rheumatology criteria) treated with HCQ who were changed to HCQ ≤5.0 mg/kg/day were studied. Visits were ascertained every 6 months for 2 years before and 2 years after HCQ dose adjustment (baseline visit). Disease activity (per Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI)), SLE exacerbations, emergency room visits, hospitalisations, disease damage (per Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index), corticosteroids exposure, prednisone dose and immunosuppressive drugs exposure were determined before and after HCQ dose change.

Results At baseline visit, the mean age was 43.8±15.1 years. All patients were women. The mean disease duration was 13.8±9.1 years. After HCQ dose adjustment, patients required a lower prednisone dose when compared with visits before HCQ dose reduction. No significant differences were observed for mean SLEDAI scores, lupus exacerbations, emergency room visits, hospitalisations, disease damage and exposure to immunosuppressive drugs before and after HCQ dose adjustment.

Conclusions This study suggests that adjustment of daily HCQ dose to ≤5.0 mg/kg/day of actual body weight does not have a significant impact on the short-term and mid-term outcomes in this group of patients with SLE.

  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • treatment
  • outcomes research

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  • Contributors All authors participated sufficiently in this work to take responsibility for the work and to qualify as authors as defined in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. All authors were involved in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and all approved the final version to be published.

  • Funding This study was funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institute of Health (grant number U54MD007587).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus Institutional Review Board (approval number: A6310119). All procedures followed were in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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