Sunday, August 12, 2012

Plaquenil Herx

Many months ago, as I sat across the desk from my LLMD at our first appointment, I remember stating that there were several medications that I did not want to take. As he asked me which ones I was worried about, I promptly stated: Levaquin, Cipro, Flagyl, Tindamax and Plaquenil. At the time I felt that the potential side effects of these medications such as permanent nerve, vision and tendon damage along with the carcinogenic properties of Flagyl/Tindamax outweighed any possible benefits that I could get from them.

Over time I started to get worse than I was at that first appointment. Especially regarding weakness, twitching and numbness in my extremities. Once a highly active person, I am currently severely struggling to make it past the afternoon. If I do sit down or take a nap, I find it VERY difficult to recover. I become so weak that I cannot finish out the day. I decided that it's time to try whatever it takes to get well. I want to try the strongest meds that I can before I get too weak and become bed-bound or non-functional.

Plaquenil was not considered one of the "strongest meds" in my mind. I saw it as a weak cyst-buster and a possible weak treatment for babesia. I know it also raises the effectiveness of zith and biaxin (neither of which I'm on). I was not expecting much of a reaction if any to Plaquenil. I was actually more worried that it would just be covering up and masking pain since it is used for other supposedly non-infectious conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.

A few days ago I added Plaquenil to Doxy and Rifampin. I was EXTREMELY worried about this one because of the risk of eye damage (even though I know it's very rare). Within about a day of taking it I started noticing some strange effects. I'm having pain in joints that don't normally hurt, increased numbness and a drugged feeling. Sometimes the pain in my ankle and knee is so bad that I can't even put weight on it.

I have been very dizzy since starting Plaqunil. I have some pressure/heaviness in my chest and throat. I've also had some heart racing increase without activity which is odd because I don't believe Plaquenil has this risk. I've taken others that are known to cause this (Zith and Biaxin) with less heart issues than I'm having now.

In addition, I feel very exhausted again and overwhelmed by lights and sounds that typically don't bother me. My emotions are going crazy and I am developing frequent headaches (something that is very unusual while I'm on meds).

Again it's hard for me to pinpoint what is causing this reaction. I had been starting to get weaker before beginning Plaquenil. I also decided to stop the cortef/florinef this week because my liver enzymes are heading up again and I wanted to stop all non-essential meds and supplements before my LLMD stops everything. So is it really the Plaquenil? Is it cortef/florinef withdrawal? Or is it elevated liver enzymes causing me to feel like crap again?