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Chloroquine ( KLOR-oh-kwin) is a medicine used to prevent and treat malaria, a red blood cell infection transmitted by the bite of a mosquito, and to treat some conditions such as liver disease caused by protozoa (tiny one-celled animals).
Malaria transmission occurs in large areas of Central and South America, Hispaniola, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. Country-specific information on malaria can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or from the CDC's web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbk .
This medicine may be given alone or with one or more other medicines. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Chloroquine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For chloroquine, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy- Unless you are taking chloroquine to treat malaria or liver disease caused by protozoa, use of this medicine is not recommended during pregnancy. In animal studies, chloroquine has been shown to cause damage to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) of the fetus, including damage to hearing, sense of balance, bleeding inside the eyes, and other eye problems. However, when given in low doses (once a week) to prevent malaria, this medicine has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in humans.
Breast-feeding- Chloroquine passes into breast milk. Chloroquine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies. However, babies and children are especially sensitive to the effects of chloroquine. The amount in breast milk is not enough to prevent the infant from getting malaria.
Children- Children are especially sensitive to the effects of chloroquine. This may increase the chance of side effects during treatment. Overdose is especially dangerous in children. Taking as little as 1 tablet (300-mg strength) has resulted in the death of a small child. Children should avoid traveling to areas where there is a chance of getting malaria, unless they can take antimalarial medicines that are more effective than chloroquine.
Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of chloroquine in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking chloroquine, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking the following:
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of chloroquine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Take this medicine with meals or milk to lessen stomach upset, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Keep this medicine out of the reach of children. Children are especially sensitive to the effects of chloroquine and overdose is especially dangerous in children . Taking as little as 1 tablet (300-mg strength) has resulted in the death of a small child.
It is very important that you take this medicine only as directed . Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of serious side effects.
If you are taking this medicine to help keep you from getting malaria, keep taking it for the full time of treatment . If you already have malaria, you should still keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment even if you begin to feel better after a few days. This will help to clear up your infection completely. If you stop taking this medicine too soon, your symptoms may return.
Chloroquine works best when you take it on a regular schedule. For example, if you are to take it once a week to prevent malaria, it is best to take it on the same day each week. Or if you are to take two doses a day, one dose may be taken with breakfast and the other with the evening meal. Make sure that you do not miss any doses . If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.
For patients taking chloroquine to prevent malaria :
The dose of chloroquine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of chloroquine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The number of tablets that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are taking chloroquine .
If you miss a dose of this medicine and your dosing schedule is:
If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
If you will be taking this medicine for a long time, it is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits for any blood problems or muscle weakness that may be caused by this medicine. In addition, check with your doctor immediately if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment . Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not able to see well .
Chloroquine may cause blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or other change in vision. It may also cause some people to become lightheaded.
If these reactions are especially bothersome, check with your doctor.
Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. If you are living in, or will be traveling to, an area where there is a chance of getting malaria, the following mosquito-control measures will help to prevent infection:
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. When this medicine is used for short periods of time, side effects usually are rare. However, when it is used for a long time and/or in high doses, side effects are more likely to occur and may be serious.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, chloroquine is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:
For patients taking chloroquine for arthritis or lupus :
Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for these uses.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT