Hydroxychloroquine prescription trends and predictors for excess dosing per recent ophthalmology guidelines

Jorge, April M.; Melles, Ronald B.; Zhang, Yuqing; Lu, Na; Rai, Sharan K.; Young, Lucy H.; Costenbader, Karen H.; Ramsey-Goldman, Rosalind; Lim, S. Sam; Esdaile, John M.; Clarke, Ann E.; Urowitz, M. B.; Askanase, Anca Dinu; Aranow, Cynthia; Petri, Michelle; Choi, Hyon

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) retinopathy may be more common than previously recognized; recent ophthalmology guidelines have revised recommendations from ideal body weight (IBW)-based dosing to actual body weight (ABW)-based dosing. However, contemporary HCQ prescribing trends in the UK remain unknown.

We examined a UK general population database to investigate HCQ dosing between 2007 and 2016. We studied trends of excess HCQ dosing per ophthalmology guidelines (defined by exceeding 6.5 mg/kg of IBW and 5.0 mg/kg of ABW) and determined their independent predictors using multivariable logistic regression analyses.

Among 20,933 new HCQ users (78% female), the proportions of initial HCQ excess dosing declined from 40% to 36% using IBW and 38% to 30% using ABW, between 2007 and 2016. Among these, 47% of women were excess-dosed (multivariable OR 12.52; 95% CI 10.99–14.26) using IBW and 38% (multivariable OR 1.98; 95% CI,1.81–2.15) using ABW. Applying IBW, 37% of normal and 44% of obese patients were excess-dosed; however, applying ABW, 53% of normal and 10% of obese patients were excess-dosed (multivariable ORs = 1.61 and 0.1 (reference = normal); both p < 0.01). Long-term HCQ users showed similar excess dosing.

A substantial proportion of HCQ users in the UK, particularly women, may have excess HCQ dosing per the previous or recent weight-based guidelines despite a modest decline in recent years. Over half of normal-BMI individuals were excess-dosed per the latest guidelines. This implies the potential need to reduce dosing for many patients but also calls for further research to establish unifying evidence-based safe and effective dosing strategies.

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Arthritis Research & Therapy

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October 1, 2018


DMARDs, Epidemiology, Quality of care, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus