An audit of the use of hydroxychloroquine in rheumatology clinics.
Worth C., Yusuf IH., Turner B., Gourier H., Brooks EE., Mort DO., Sharma S., Downes SM., Luqmani RA.
Objective: The aim was to audit the use, indications, complications and patient information regarding HCQ treatment in rheumatology clinics in a tertiary referral centre. Methods: During a 9-month period, we identified all patients prescribed HCQ and attending rheumatology clinics in one hospital. We established: (i) the indication for HCQ; (ii) the prevalence of HCQ overdosing based on absolute body weight (ABW); (iii) documentation of warning of risk of retinal toxicity; (iv) systemic and ocular co-morbidities; (v) ocular symptoms during treatment; and (vi) reasons for stopping HCQ. Results: We identified 427 patients (104 male and 323 female). The cumulative dose of HCQ was lower in RA (median 365 g; range 6-1752 g) compared with SLE (450 g; 66-1788 g) (P = 0.105). The median duration of HCQ therapy was 4 years (range 0.1-13 years); 28% of patients with RA and 29% with SLE continued HCQ beyond 5 years. After adjusting for ABW and renal function, 10% (31/312) had been prescribed doses exceeding recommendations. Formal documentation of counselling on ocular complications was found in only one-third of patients. Three cases of HCQ retinopathy were identified (all of whom had RA). Conclusion: HCQ therapy is being used for >5 years in 29% of patients with rheumatic diseases, with higher than recommended doses in ∼10% of patients. We recommend more rigorous scrutiny of the use of HCQ to reduce the risk of retinopathy.