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Artesunate Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 28, 2024.

Applies to artesunate: intravenous powder for solution.

Serious side effects of Artesunate

Along with its needed effects, artesunate may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking artesunate:

More common

Incidence not known

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to artesunate: intravenous powder for injection.


Very common (10% or more): Anemia (sometimes severe; up to 65%), delayed hemolysis (up to 27%), thrombocytopenia (up to 18%), leukocytosis (up to 10%), posttherapy hemolytic anemia in travelers, mild and transient decrease in reticulocyte count

Common (1% to 10%): Lymphopenia, neutropenia (sometimes severe), disseminated intravascular coagulation, leukopenia, reduced reticulocyte count, posttherapy hemolytic anemia in endemic areas

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Agranulocytosis, reticulocytopenia, erythroblastopenia

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Pure red cell aplasia

Frequency not reported: Posttherapy hemolytic anemia (including cases requiring transfusion), immune-mediated hemolysis

Postmarketing reports: Delayed hemolysis, immune hemolytic anemia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Increased transaminase (up to 27%), hyperbilirubinemia (up to 14%)

Common (1% to 10%): Jaundice, transient elevation in liver transaminases (AST, ALT)

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Elevated liver enzymes

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Hepatitis, calculous cholecystitis[Ref]

Transient elevation in liver transaminases, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and diarrhea have been reported commonly but it is unclear whether these events may have been symptoms of severe malaria.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Acute renal failure (up to 10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Acute renal failure requiring dialysis (included dialysis, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis), elevated creatinine[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hemoglobinuria[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, cough, nasal symptoms[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea, abdominal pain/cramps, vomiting, nausea

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Mild gastrointestinal disturbances

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Elevated serum amylase, pancreatitis

Postmarketing reports: Pancreatitis[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Rash, alopecia

Frequency not reported: Stevens-Johnson syndrome, urticaria[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Significant neurologic impairments, dysgeusia, tinnitus (with or without decreased auditory function), dizziness, headache, lightheadedness, altered taste (metallic/bitter taste)

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Peripheral neuropathy, paresthesia

Frequency not reported: Loss of balance, hemiplegia/paresis, ataxia, tremor[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia

Frequency not reported: Neuropsychiatric symptoms, confusion, restlessness[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia/fever, fatigue, malaise

Frequency not reported: Generalized weakness[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anorexia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Arthralgia, muscle disorders[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pain at injection site[Ref]


At least 1 case of cardiac arrest has been reported in a patient with severe malaria with multiorgan failure; causality by this drug has not been established.[Ref]

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Rhythm disorders (bradycardia, sinus arrhythmia), conduction disorders (QTc lengthening, abnormal sinoatrial conduction)

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Arterial ischemia, hypertensive retinopathy

Frequency not reported: Cardiac arrest, atrioventricular block, possible QT prolongation[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Severe allergic reaction (included urticarial rash, hypotension, pruritus, edema, dyspnea)

Postmarketing reports: Hypersensitivity, anaphylaxis[Ref]


1. World Health Organization (2020) WHO Public Assessment Reports (WHOPARs)

2. (2020) "Product Information. Artesunate (artesunate)." Amivas

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.