Get E-Book on COVID-19

Q. Is Plaquenil beneficial in C. difficile colitis?

Answered by
Dr. Naval Mendiratta
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 27, 2016 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hello doctor,

My mother was diagnosed with systemic sclerosis (CREST). Her main symptoms have been Raynaud's and esophageal issues. She also has Alzheimer's and a history of recurrent C.diff colitis. She took Plaquenil for several years and her CREST symptoms appeared stable. So, when her rheumatologist retired, we did not locate a new one. Her general doctor kept her on Plaquenil and she continued her routine testing with her eye doctor. She was hospitalized recently with C.diff and also developed pneumonia and a GI bleed, which was treated as an ulcer and got better. She did have an upper GI series, which showed no stricture, but esophageal dismotility with no peristalsis. She used to have her esophagus dilated often in the past years, but had a rupture before six years after a procedure. It healed on its own and since then. We have avoided having her scoped.

The hospital doctor suggested discontinuing her Plaquenil and he said that it could make her more susceptible to infections. Prior to the hospitalization, she had declined in her physical health and lost 10 pounds in six months and the Alzheimer's is advancing. She has been discharged from the hospital and is in a long-term care facility. My question is, in general, does Plaquenil provide a benefit to the esophagus? Would it really be that much of an immunosuppressant for someone in her condition? In general terms, what are the benefits versus risks? We would like to start her back on it if there is a chance it would help. She is not physically able to be transported for a consultation with a new rheumatologist at this time. I am not asking for any information that would lead to me finding fault in her hospital doctor's recommendation. I believe her current doctor would put her back on it if we asked him to. I am just seeking information. Thank you.

Dr. Naval Mendiratta



Welcome to

I have gone through your mother's history and she has had a tough path.

  • Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) at this stage will not help her scleroderma much, especially the esophagus, which is already dilated with no motility. This is one of the few conditions of scleroderma, which if happens does not get reversed with medicines.
  • As for safety wise, you need not worry about Plaquenil. It is quite safe and well tolerated with the least risk of infections amongst all other drugs. But of benefits. I don't think it will do much more at this stage. If it does give her some benefit as any relief, then it is quite safe to try once more.
  • As of CREST syndrome (calcinosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly and telengiectasia), it usually burns itself out after five to seven years. So, do not expect much of activity going on. But, the damage it does do remains. Esophagus dilation and the Raynaud's usually linger on.
  • With CREST syndrome, please make sure that her pulmonary pressures are checked once in every six months (2D echo).
  • As of the symptom relief for esophagus, you can consult a gastroenterologist if the permanent stent will help.

For further information consult a rheumatologist online -->

Was this answer helpful?


Related Questions:
What can cause pain in pinky finger while moving?
Should SLE medicines be stopped when trying for pregnancy?
My cuticles have developed blood specks. Is it scleroderma?

This is a sponsored Ad. icliniq or icliniq doctors do not endorse the content in the Ad.

Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat
Also Read Answers From:

Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

Are high sugar and raised liver enzymes side effects of Protonix?

Query: Hi doctor, I have been taking Protonix for almost three weeks for acid reflux. I had some blood laboratory work done and it showed my AST 812 and ALT 1,115. Could this be a rare side effect of Protonix? My glucose also went up to 192 and lipase is 72. I do not drink, smoke or use drugs...  Read Full »

Pelvic Pain

Article Overview: The pain felt below the umbilicus and above the thigh is known as pelvic pain. It can be caused by a number of things, which ranges from being harmless to a medical emergency Read Article

Dr. Sneha Kannan
Internal Medicine Physician

Pelvic Pain Overview The pain felt below the umbilicus and above the thigh is known as pelvic pain. It can be caused by a number of things, which ranges from being harmless to a medical emergency. There are a lot of organs in the pelvic region like bowel, bladder, ovaries, uterus, appendix, etc., s...  Read Article

What is the treatment for poor blood circulation present in fingers?

Query: Hi doctor, I have poor blood circulation, and my hands are affected. My finger is swollen, and it hurts me a lot. I have tried using hot water over it, and it has not helped me. What can I do now? I am taking Daflon. But it has not helped me. I have attached my picture. Please see the images of the...  Read Full »

Also Read

This article provides you with all the information that you should be knowing about miscarriage. Although this is an emo...  Read more»
COVID-19 Testing
COVID-19 testing includes analyzing patient samples to determine current or past infections with SARS-CoV-2. Read the ar...  Read more»
I feel a restlessness in my legs, which decreases my sleep quality. How to get a refreshing sleep?
Hello doctor, I cannot get refreshing sleep some days in a week, and some days it is good. I also have difficulty sleep...  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Rheumatologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: All health Q&As published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.