Hydroxychloroquine side effects

Hi, I'm recently diagnosed with RA and have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine.

I'm 16 days in and I've started getting shortness of breath over the last 5/6 days. I have very slight chest pressure. I'm also getting lightheaded as well.

Are these side effects of the tablets or is there something else going on? I feel fit & healthy in myself apart from the RA discomfort

Many thanks


  • Hi @Stubborn1970,

    Welcome to the online community!

    I see that you have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine following your recent RA diagnosis and are concerned about respiratory symptoms. It may help you to read this page, which has a section dedicated to side effects and risks associated with hydroxychloroquine - shortness of breath is not specifically listed as a symptom:

    If you are suffering shortness of breath or any other symptoms which are causing you distress, you might want to discuss it with your GP. If it is a side-effect of the medication, your doctor might prescribe alternative treatments. And if not, they might be able to find an explanation or solution for you.

    I would also encourage you to browse the community and feel free to participate in any discussions that take your interest. I'm sure you will find the other members very friendly.

    Do let us know how you get on.


  • Hi Stubborn 1970

    Thank you for your post on the forum. I see that you have recently been diagnosed with RA and have been prescribed hydroxychloroquine. I see that you have been getting shortness of breath, slight chest pressure and lightheaded. I see that Sarah has already given you a link to our information on hydroxychloroquine that includes potential side effects.

    However, with the new symptoms you have developed or if there is anything else that concerns you after starting hydroxychloroquine or at any other time, we would encourage you to speak to your doctor or rheumatology nurse specialist to discuss these new symptoms as soon as possible.

    As you have been recently diagnosed with RA you may find the following link useful as it contains information about this condition.  

    Rheumatoid Arthritis, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

    I hope this information is helpful. If you would like to talk to us about arthritis you can call our  helpline team. You can call us on 0800 5200 520 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).

    Best Wishes

    Dawn, Helpline Advisor

  • Rina
    Rina Member Posts: 85

    Hi, I’ve been taking hydroxychloroquine for about 10 years and never had shortness of breath. It’s listed as of the side effects that you should tell your doctor about as soon as possible so I’d phone up your GP or speak to your pharmacist if I were you.

    Rina xx