Primaquine Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 7, 2020.
For the Consumer
Applies to primaquine: oral tablet
Oral route (Tablet)
Physicians should completely familiarize themselves with the complete contents of this leaflet before prescribing primaquine phosphate.
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, primaquine 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 immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking primaquine:
Incidence not known
- Back, leg, or stomach pains
- black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- bluish-colored lips, fingernails, or palms
- chest pain
- dark urine
- difficulty breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness
- fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- general body swelling
- loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- rapid heart rate
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swollen glands
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of primaquine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- itching, skin rash
- pain or discomfort in the chest, upper stomach, or throat
- stomach cramps
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to primaquine: compounding powder, oral tablet
Hemolytic anemia in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD) and methemoglobinemia in patients with nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide methemoglobin reductase deficiency have been reported.
Patients from Africa, Southern Europe, Mediterranean region, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Oceania had a greater tendency to develop hemolytic anemia (due to congenital deficiency of erythrocytic G6PD) while using this drug.
Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, abdominal pains
Frequency not reported: Epigastric distress[Ref]
Gastrointestinal symptoms were dose related.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, headache[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Increased methemoglobin level
Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity skin rashes[Ref]
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2. Fryauff DJ, Baird JK, Basri H, Sumawinata I, Purnomo, Richie TL, Ohrt CK, Mouzin E, Church CJ, Richards AL, Subianto B, Sand "Randomised placebo-controlled trial of primaquine for prophylaxis of falciparum and vivax malaria." Lancet 346 (1995): 1190-3
3. Ziai M, Amirhakimi GH, Reinhold JG, Tabatabee M, Gettner ME, Bowman JE "Malaria prophylaxis and treatment in G-6-PD deficiency. An observation on the toxicity of primaquine and chloroquine." Clin Pediatr (Phila) 6 (1967): 42-3
4. World Health Organization "Guidelines for the Treatment of Malaria – Third edition. Available from: URL: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/162441/1/9789241549127_eng.pdf?ua=1" (2015):
5. Reeve PA, Toaliu H, Kaneko A, Hall JJ, Ganczakowski M "Acute intravascular haemolysis in Vanuatu following a single dose of primaquine in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency." J Trop Med Hyg 95 (1992): 49-51
6. "Product Information. Primaquine (primaquine)." Sanofi Winthrop Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY.
7. Freedman DO "Clinical practice. Malaria prevention in short-term travelers." N Engl J Med 359 (2008): 603-12
8. Bolchoz LJC, Budinsky RA, McMillan DC, Jollow DJ "Primaquine-induced hemolytic anemia: formation and hemotoxicity of the arylhydroxylamine metabolite 6-methoxy-8-hydroxylaminoquinoline." J Pharmacol Exp Ther 297 (2001): 509-15
9. George JN, Sears DA, McCurdy PR, Conrad ME "Primaquine sensitivity in Caucasians: hemolytic reactions induced by primaquine in G-6-PD deficient subjects." J Lab Clin Med 70 (1967): 0-93
10. Kay R, DuBois RE "Clindamycin/primaquine therapy and secondary prophylaxis against Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in patients with AIDS." South Med J 83 (1990): 03-4
11. Ruf B, Rohde I, Pohle HD "Efficacy of clindamycin/primaquine versus trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole in primary treatment of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia." Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 10 (1991): 07-10
12. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
13. Baird JK, Fryauff DJ, Basri H, Bangs MJ, Subianto B, Wiady I, Purnomo, Leksana B, Masbar S, Richie TL, Jones TR, Tjitra E, "Primaquine for prophylaxis against malaria among nonimmune transmigrants in irian jaya, indonesia." Am J Trop Med Hyg 52 (1995): 479-84
14. Black JR, Feinberg J, Murphy RL, Fass RJ, Finkelstein D, Akil B, Safrin S, Carey JT, Stansell J, Plouffe JF, He WL, Shelto "Clindamycin and primaquine therapy for mild-to-moderate episodes of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in patients with AIDS: AIDS clinical trials group 044." Clin Infect Dis 18 (1994): 905-13
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- Drug class: antimalarial quinolines
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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.