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Chloroquine is a medication used to prevent and treat malaria. It is also used to treat liver disease caused by protozoa. Chloroquine belongs to a group of medicines known as antimalarials. It works by preventing or treating malaria, a red blood cell infection transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. However, this medicine is not effective against chloroquine-resistant strains of malaria. chloroquine is also used to treat amebiasis (infection caused by amoebae).

Chloroquine is available in generic form. The brand name is Aralen Phosphate. The cost for chloroquine oral tablet 250 mg is around for a supply of 50 tablets, depending on the pharmacy you visit. Prices are for cash paying customers only and are not valid with insurance plans.

For Malaria

For prevention of malaria in adults, one dose is usually taken once a week on exactly the same day of the week. Start taking the medicine 2 weeks before entering an area where malaria is common. Chloroquine is usually taken for 3 days, followed by 1 week of rest. If you are taking chloroquine for symptoms of malaria, you will start to feel better in a few days. For prevention of malaria in children, the dosage is also based on weight.

For Liver Disease

For treatment of liver disease caused by protozoa, the usual dose is 750 mg chloroquine phosphate (300 mg base) daily for 2 weeks. This is followed by 500 mg chloroquine phosphate (200 mg base) daily for at least 2 to 3 weeks. To prevent relapse, an additional course of 500 mg daily for 4 to 6 weeks may be required.

For Amebiasis

For treatment of amoebiasis in adults, the initial dose is 1 g chloroquine phosphate (600 mg base) followed by 500 mg chloroquine phosphate (300 mg base) in 3 to 4 hours. The dose is then repeated every 6 to 8 hours for 2 more days. For treatment of amoebiasis in children, the initial dose is also 1 g chloroquine phosphate (600 mg base), followed by 500 mg chloroquine phosphate (300 mg base) in 3 to 4 hours. The dose is then repeated every 6 to 8 hours for 2 more days.

Side Effects

Common side effects of chloroquine include headache, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, or cramping. This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Warnings

You should not use chloroquine if you are allergic to it. Chloroquine should not be used for long-term treatment in children. Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Chloroquine can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Do not take antacids or kaolin within 4 hours of chloroquine. Some medicines can make chloroquine less effective when taken at the same time. If you take other drugs, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if you need to take them at some other time than chloroquine.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • psoriasis;
  • porphyria;
  • diabetes;
  • alcoholism;
  • lupus;
  • an allergy to quinine; or
  • if you have ever had a blood disorder such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, or hemolytic anemia.

Chloroquine is not expected to harm an unborn baby. However, malaria can cause death in a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

You should not breast-feed while using chloroquine. Chloroquine passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Ask a doctor about using chloroquine if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give this medicine to a child without a doctor's advice.

How should I take chloroquine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Malaria is usually treated with a combination of drugs. To best treat your infection, use all of your medications as directed by your doctor.

If you have trouble swallowing a chloroquine tablet, you may crush the tablet and mix it with a small glass of milk, water, or other beverage to make it easier to swallow.

Chloroquine works best when you take it on a regular schedule. For example, if you are taking it once a week to prevent malaria, it is best to take it on the same day each week. Make sure that you do not miss any doses. If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with your doctor, nurse, healthcare provider, or pharmacist.

If you are taking chloroquine for symptoms of malaria, your symptoms should begin to improve within a few days. If your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse, call your doctor.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

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