Compare methotrexate vs. Plaquenil

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Reduces inflammation and cell replication.

Otrexup (methotrexate) is the first-choice treatment for many types of cancer and arthritis, but it has many side effects.

Treats malaria and autoimmune conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is an effective medication for autoimmune conditions and malaria that comes with less side effects than other DMARDs.

Upsides
  • Otrexup (methotrexate) is available as an affordable generic form.
  • Otrexup (methotrexate) comes as a tablet, an injection that you give yourself, or an infusion that you get in the doctor's office or infusion center.
  • Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) has been shown to improve physical function in up to 80% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is commonly used for lupus in children because of less side effects compared to other medications.
  • Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) helps minimize joint damage. It can also decrease symptoms and future complications.
  • Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is a good choice for people who have difficulty tolerating newer biologic medications.
  • A generic form of Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is available.
Downsides
  • You may need frequent blood tests for monitoring when taking Otrexup (methotrexate).
  • Otrexup (methotrexate) can cause serious birth defects so women should avoid getting pregnant for at least 6 month and men 3 months after taking it.
  • While on Otrexup (methotrexate), you should avoid alcohol and staying out in the sun for too long.
  • You will likely have to take additional medications to keep your rheumatoid arthritis in control.
  • Some people may develop eye problems, so you’ll have to get your eyes checked often.
  • Depending on what you're being treated for, it can take up to 6 months for the full benefits of Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine).
  • Many people have nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea when they first start taking Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine).
  • If you have heart, eye, liver conditions, or psoriasis, talk to your doctor to see if Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is right for you.
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Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
4possible side effects
  • Abnormal liver function tests
    14%
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
    11%
  • Mouth inflammation and sores
    2%
  • Low white blood count
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Worsening side-effects
    • Reduced kidney function
    • fluid in the abdomen
    • fluid in the lungs
  • Use of NSAIDs
    • NSAIDS
    • High dose of methotrexate
  • Liver problems
    • Long-term use
    • Psoriasis
  • Lung problems
  • Diarrhea and mouth sores
    • Taking Otrexup (methotrexate) with high-dose NSAIDs
  • Tumor lysis syndrome
    • Rapidly growing tumors
  • Skin reactions
  • Infections
  • White blood cell cancer
  • Skin and bone tissue deterioration
    • Radiotherapy
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Prescribing by Doctors
  • Drug resistance
  • Worsening of psoriasis
  • Pregnancy
    • Women of childbearing age
  • Damage to retina of eye
    • Higher doses
    • Kidney disease
    • Use for longer than 5 years
    • Current problems with vision
    • Use of certain drugs such as tamoxifen
  • Heart problems
    • Taking other medicines that cause disruptions in heart rhythm
    • Existing heart conditions
See more detailed risks and warnings