The most recent advances in effective therapeutic agents for the treatment of localized edematous, chronic discoid, and some benign types of subacute lupus erythematosus have been in the antimalarial field. However, these agents, such as quinacrine (Atabrine) hydrochloride and chloroquine (Aralen) phosphate, have not been effective for the treatment of advanced subacute lupus erythematosus, acute disseminated lupus erythematosus, and protracted systemic lupus erythematosus. Fortunately, in these last-mentioned varieties of this disease, corticotropin (ACTH), cortisone, hydrocortisone, and, later, prednisone have been lifesaving and/or life-prolonging.
Quinacrine was the first one of these antimalarial drugs to be used for the treatment of the benign types of lupus erythematosus and was very effective. However, there were several undesirable side-effects such as dermatitis, gastrointestinal incapabilities, and the yellowish discoloration of the skin and sciera. Chloroquine was also found to be very effective in the treatment of these conditions, but occasionally dizziness, difficulty in focusing, nausea,
Mullins JF, Watts FL, Wilson CJ. PLAQUENIL IN THE TREATMENT OF LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS. JAMA. 1956;161(9):879–881. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.62970090020017k
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