Chloroquine is an anti-malaria medicine that works by interfering with the growth of parasites in the red blood cells of the human body.
Parasites that cause malaria typically enter the body through the bite of a mosquito. Malaria is common in areas such as Africa, South America, and Southern Asia.
Chloroquine is used to treat and to prevent malaria. Chloroquine is also used to treat amebiasis (infection caused by amoebae).
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), or if you have:
- a history of vision changes or damage to your retina caused by an anti-malaria medication.
To make sure chloroquine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- heart disease, heart rhythm disorder (such as long QT syndrome);
- an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);
- liver or kidney disease;
- epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
- glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency; or
- problems with your vision or hearing.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
Malaria is more likely to cause death in a pregnant woman. If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor about the risks of traveling to areas where malaria is common.
Chloroquine can pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in the nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine..
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
To prevent malaria: Start taking the medicine 2 weeks before entering an area where malaria is common. Chloroquine is usually taken once per week on the same day each week. Continue taking the medicine regularly during your stay and for at least 8 weeks after you leave the area.
If you stop using chloroquine early for any reason, talk to your doctor about other forms of malaria prevention.
To treat malaria: Chloroquine is usually given for 3 days, starting with one high dose followed by a smaller dose during the next 2 days in a row.
To treat amebiasis: Chloroquine is given in a high starting dose for 2 days followed by a smaller dose for 2 to 3 weeks. You may be given other medications to help prevent further infection.
Follow your doctor”s dosing instructions very carefully.
Take this medicine for the full prescribed length of time for treatment of malaria. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.
If you use this medicine long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.
Use protective clothing, insect repellents, and mosquito netting around your bed to further prevent mosquito bites that could cause malaria.
Call your doctor as soon as possible if you have been exposed to malaria, or if you have fever or other symptoms of illness during or after a stay in an area where malaria is common.
No medication is 100% effective in treating or preventing all types of malaria. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if you have fever, vomiting, or diarrhea during your treatment.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.