Ocular toxicity and antenatal exposure to chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for rheumatic diseases

Lancet. 2001 Sep 8;358(9284):813-4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)06004-4.


Chronic use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine inthe treatment of rheumatic disease carries a small risk of sight-threatening pigmentary retinopathy. To obtain safety data for its use in pregnancy, we did ophthalmic examinations in 21 children born to women who took these drugsduring pregnancy. Average daily maternal doses of the two drugs were 317 mg hydroxychloroquine and 332 mg chloroquine. The mean duration of gestational exposure was 7.2 months. No ophthalmic abnormality was detected in these children. Therapeutic use of these drugs during pregnancy may not pose a significant risk of ocular toxicity to offspring.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloroquine / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / adverse effects*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / chemically induced*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Visual Acuity


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Chloroquine