Update on hydroxychloroquine

Arthritis Australia is  aware of reports that some people with arthritis who use hydroxychloroquine to manage their condition are having difficulty accessing this medication.

At this time, suppliers advise that stock is available and measures are being taken to support normal supply and distribution. We are monitoring this situation closely.

We are aware that hydroxychloroquine is being investigated as a possible treatment for COVID-19, however its effectiveness for this condition has yet to be established. In the meantime, doctors are being urged to prescribe hydroxychloroquine only for approved indications. People may want to consider contacting their pharmacist to order their medications a week or two in advance of running out.

New restrictions for hydroxychloroquine and salbutamol now in place

From 24 March 2020, new federal legislation is in place to limit the availability of two medicines that have seen increased demand in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation has been implemented so that these medicines continue to be available for Australians who need them for ongoing medical conditions.

Hydroxychloroquine is the active ingredient in medicines used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. Medicines containing hydroxychloroquine are in Schedule 4, meaning they are available only with a prescription.

From 24 March 2020, treatment with hydroxychloroquine will need to be authorised first by certain specialists before ongoing prescribing by a general practitioner can occur.

Currently, hydroxychloroquine is being tested as a potential treatment for people infected with the SARS-COV-2 virus. No recommendations have yet been made regarding dose, frequency or duration. Use of this medicine for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 outside of clinical trial research is off-label.

Read more at NSP MedicineWise

Read the legislation: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020L00291


Last updated on 25 March 2020


Resource(s) NPS MedicineWise: https://www.nps.org.au/coronavirus?fbclid=IwAR1bgeu0kgnRCQj1DYV0HAewMNT2HVI5yM79mPlj8voNyCgQqs7hfOo9YrY Australian Government: Poisons Standard Amendment (Hydroxychloroquine and Salbutamol) Instrument 2020, ttps://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020L00291