Halofantrine Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 18, 2022.
Applies to halofantrine: oral tablet.
In rare cases, halofantrine may affect the heart, causing irregular heartbeats that could result in death. Do not take halofantrine if you have a heart condition such as an irregular heartbeats or a history of irregular heartbeats; a history of prolonged QT intervals; a family history of congenital long QT syndrome; heart block or other conduction disturbances; or unexplained episodes of fainting. These conditions may increase the risk of irregular heartbeats and death while taking halofantrine.
Take halofantrine on an empty stomach, at least one hour before or two hours after food. Taking halofantrine with food may increase the risk of irregular heartbeats.
Use caution when driving or performing other hazardous activities. Halofantrine may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid these activities.
Stop taking halofantrine and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
an allergic reaction (swelling of the lips, face, or tongue; shortness of breath; difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; or hives);
fast or irregular heartbeats;
fluttering feeling in the chest;
lightheadedness or fainting;
decreased consciousness; or
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take halofantrine and talk to your doctor if you experience
shivering or tremors; or
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to halofantrine: oral tablet.
Higher risk may be associated with larger than recommended doses, previous or concurrent mefloquine treatment, preexisting QT interval prolongation, or concurrent administration of other QT interval-prolonging drugs. Prolonged QTc interval has been reported in up to 81% of adults treated with standard halofantrine doses and in 100% of patients treated with high doses (72 mg/kg). Prolonged QTc interval has been reported in 50% of children and prolonged PR interval has been reported in 38% of children (n=21). Females may have a higher risk of adverse cardiovascular effects.
It has been proposed that halofantrine prolongs repolarization by blocking HERG potassium channels.[Ref]
Cardiovascular side effects have included QT interval prolongation, torsades de pointes, ventricular arrhythmias, and death. Chest pain and palpitations have been reported less than 1% of patients in clinical trials, and orthostatic hypotension has been reported in less than 1% to 33% of patients. Hypertensive crisis (1/933) and cerebrovascular accident (1/933) have been reported, although causality was not clearly established. Quinidine-like electrocardiographic changes have also been reported.[Ref]
Gastrointestinal (GI) side effects have included abdominal pain (8.5%), diarrhea (6%), vomiting (4.3%), and nausea (3.4%), although these symptoms may also occur with a malarial infection. Abdominal distention, anorexia, constipation, dyspepsia, and stomatitis have been reported in less than 1% of patients. GI upset has also been reported.[Ref]
Hematologic side effects have included decreased hematocrit, decreased or increased white blood cells, decreased platelet counts, hemolysis, and hemolytic anemia. These reactions may also occur with a malaria infection.[Ref]
Dermatologic side effects have included pruritus (2.6%) and rash (less than 1%).[Ref]
Nervous system side effects have included dizziness (4.5%) and headache (3%). Asthenia, confusion, convulsions, depression, paresthesia, and sleep disorder have been reported in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]
Genitourinary side effects have included urinary frequency (less than 1%).[Ref]
Ocular side effects have included abnormal vision (less than 1%).[Ref]
Other side effects have included fatigue, malaise, and tinnitus in less than 1% of patients.[Ref]
Hepatic side effects have included increased hepatic transaminases, which returned to normal within 2 to 3 weeks.[Ref]
Renal side effects have included blackwater fever (acute intravascular hemolysis with acute renal failure and hemoglobinuria) requiring hemodialysis patients taking halofantrine for Plasmodium falciparum infections (n=2). Causality was not clearly established. One patient had a positive Coombs test.[Ref]
More about halofantrine
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- During pregnancy
- Drug class: miscellaneous antimalarials
Related treatment guides
1. Product Information. Lariam (mefloquine). Roche Laboratories. 2002.
2. Product Information. Halfan (halofantrine). GlaxoSmithKline. 2003.
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