Generic Name: Quinine (KWYE nine)
Brand Name: Qualaquin
Medically reviewed on September 5, 2018
- This medicine can cause very bad and sometimes life-threatening blood problems. Long-lasting kidney problems have happened in some people who get certain blood problems. This medicine is not approved for nighttime leg cramps. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
Uses of Quinine:
- It is used to treat or prevent malaria.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Quinine?
- If you have an allergy to quinine or any other part of quinine.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have any of these health problems: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, swelling of a nerve in the eye, heart problems like long QT on ECG or other abnormal heartbeat, or myasthenia gravis.
- If you have any of these health problems: Liver problems, low magnesium levels, low potassium levels, or slow heartbeat.
- If you are taking rifampin.
- If you are taking ritonavir.
- If you are taking any drugs that can cause a certain type of heartbeat that is not normal (prolonged QT interval). There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with quinine.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take quinine with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Quinine?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take quinine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how quinine affects you.
- To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
- Do not take antacids at the same time as quinine. Ask your doctor if you have a question about how to take antacids with quinine.
- Avoid foods or drinks that have quinine, such as tonic water.
- Low blood sugar has happened with quinine, especially in pregnant women.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
- This medicine may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take quinine.
- This medicine may affect how much of some other drugs are in your body. If you are taking other drugs, talk with your doctor. You may need to have your blood work checked more closely while taking quinine with your other drugs.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
- This medicine can cause low platelet levels. Sometimes, very low platelet levels have led to life-threatening or deadly bleeding problems. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- A type of abnormal heartbeat (prolonged QT interval) has happened with quinine. Sometimes, this has led to another type of unsafe abnormal heartbeat (torsades de pointes). Call your doctor right away if you have a fast or abnormal heartbeat, or if you pass out.
- If you are 65 or older, use quinine with care. You could have more side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using quinine while you are pregnant.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is this medicine (Quinine) best taken?
Use quinine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with food to prevent an upset stomach.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- Keep taking quinine as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it has been 4 hours or more since the missed dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Signs of low blood sugar like dizziness, headache, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, shaking, a fast heartbeat, confusion, hunger, or sweating.
- Chest pain.
- Hearing loss.
- Change in eyesight or in the way you see color.
- Loss of eyesight.
- Pinpoint red spots on the skin.
- Belly pain.
- Very upset stomach or throwing up.
- Very loose stools (diarrhea).
- Feeling nervous and excitable.
- Fever or chills.
- Muscle weakness.
- Sweating a lot.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly blood problems like thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome (TTP/HUS) have happened with quinine in some people. Call your doctor right away if you feel very tired or weak or have any bruising or bleeding; dark urine or yellow skin or eyes; pale skin; change in the amount of urine passed; change in eyesight; change in strength on 1 side is greater than the other, trouble speaking or thinking, or change in balance; or fever.
What are some other side effects of Quinine?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Ringing in ears.
- Change in hearing.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Quinine?
- Store at room temperature. Do not refrigerate or freeze.
- Keep lid tightly closed.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time quinine is refilled. If you have any questions about quinine, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about quinine
- Quinine Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 15 Reviews
- Drug class: antimalarial quinolines
Other brands: Qualaquin