Drug-induced heart and vascular disease remains an important health burden. Hydroxychloroquine and its predecessor chloroquine are medications commonly used in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other connective tissue disorders. Hydroxychloroquine interferes with malarial metabolites, confers immunomodulatory effects, and also affects lysosomal function. Clinical monitoring and early recognition of toxicity is an important management strategy in patients who undergo long-term treatment with hydroxychloroquine. Retinal toxicity, neuromyopathy, and cardiac disease are recognized adverse effects of hydroxychloroquine. Immediate withdrawal of hydroxychloroquine is essential if toxicity is suspected because of the early reversibility of cardiomyopathy. In addition to recommended ophthalmological screening, regular screening with 12-lead electrocardiogram and transthoracic echocardiography to detect conduction system disease and/or biventricular morphological or functional changes should be considered in hydroxychloroquine-treated patients. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and endomyocardial biopsy are valuable tools to provide prognostic insights and confirm the diagnosis of hydroxychloroquine-induced cardiomyopathy. In conclusion, chronic use of hydroxychloroquine can result in an acquired lysosomal storage disorder, leading to a drug-induced cardiomyopathy characterized by concentric hypertrophy and conduction abnormalities associated with increased adverse clinical outcomes and mortality.
Copyright © 2014 Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.