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Chloroquine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: chloroquine (KLOR-oh-kwin)
Brand Name: Aralen

Chloroquine is used for:

Treating and suppressing acute attacks of certain strains of malaria and a certain type of parasitic infection (extraintestinal amebiasis). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Chloroquine is an aminoquinoline. It is thought to kill sensitive malaria parasites by stopping normal metabolism inside the parasite.

Do NOT use chloroquine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in chloroquine
  • you have vision problems or retinal changes
  • you are taking arsenic, astemizole, terfenadine, cimetidine, cisapride, quinacrine, or dofetilide

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using chloroquine:

Some medical conditions may interact with chloroquine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines or other substances
  • if you have porphyria or any other blood disease, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency, or a history of seizures
  • if you have psoriasis, stomach or intestinal problems, liver disease, or central nervous system problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with chloroquine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Cimetidine or quinacrine because the side effects of chloroquine may be increased
  • Ampicillin, rabies vaccine, or thyroid hormones (eg, levothyroxine) because the effectiveness of these medicines may be decreased
  • Arsenic, astemizole, cisapride, dofetilide, or terfenadine because the risk of severe side effects, including irregular heartbeat, may be increased
  • Cyclosporine because its side effects may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if chloroquine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use chloroquine:

Use chloroquine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Chloroquine is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using chloroquine at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • If chloroquine contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of chloroquine, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use chloroquine.

Important safety information:

  • Chloroquine may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to chloroquine. Using chloroquine alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Chloroquine may cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Avoid exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to chloroquine. Use a sunscreen or protective clothing if you must be outside for a prolonged period.
  • Contact your health care provider if you notice any muscle weakness or problems with vision or hearing. Your knee and ankle reflexes will be tested periodically.
  • LAB TESTS, such as complete blood cell counts and eye tests, may be needed to monitor your progress. Be sure to keep appointments.
  • Use chloroquine with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Caution is advised when using chloroquine in CHILDREN because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while taking chloroquine, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using chloroquine during pregnancy. Chloroquine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking chloroquine.

Possible side effects of chloroquine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Appetite loss; clumsiness; diarrhea; dizziness; feeling of whirling motion; mild headache; nausea; stomach cramps; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bizarre behavior; change in color or skin or inside of mouth; diarrhea; difficulty seeing and reading (words, letters, or parts of objects missing when reading); fever or sore throat; hair loss; hearing loss; mood changes; ringing in the ears; seizures; sensitivity to sunlight; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual weakness; vision problems; weight loss.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include blurred vision; drowsiness; excessive excitability; fainting; headache; irregular heartbeat; loss of consciousness; mood changes; seizures; severe drowsiness or dizziness; slow, shallow breathing.

Proper storage of chloroquine:

Store chloroquine in a tightly closed container at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep chloroquine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about chloroquine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Chloroquine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about chloroquine. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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