Quinine (By mouth)

Quinine (KWYE-nine)

Treats malaria.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to quinine, mefloquine, or quinidine, or if you have a heart rhythm problem (including QT prolongation), blood or blood clotting problem (including thrombocytopenia, idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, hemolytic uremic syndrome, blackwater fever), myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness), or optic neuritis (nerve swelling in the eye). Do not use this medicine to treat or prevent night time leg cramps.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • Take all of the medicine in your prescription to clear up your infection, even if you feel better after the first few doses.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: If you missed a dose of this medicine for more than 4 hours, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double doses.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine with rifampin.
  • Some medicines can affect how quinine works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Acetazolamide, aminophylline, astemizole, debrisoquine, desipramine, dextromethorphan, digoxin, erythromycin, ketoconazole, mefloquine, metoprolol, ritonavir, paroxetine, sodium bicarbonate, tetracycline, theophylline, troleandomycin
    • Blood thinner (including warfarin)
    • Medicine for heart rhythm problems (including amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, verapamil)
    • Medicine to lower cholesterol (including atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin)
    • Medicine to treat seizures (including carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin)
    • Medicine to treat stomach problems (including cimetidine, ranitidine, antacids)
    • Muscle blockers (including pancuronium, succinylcholine, tubocurarine)

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, heart rhythm problems, G6PD deficiency, or low blood sugar.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Kidney problems
    • Serious skin reactions
    • Low blood sugar levels
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel faint, dizzy, or lightheaded, or you might have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem (including QT prolongation, a slow heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation).
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Wash your hands often.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • This medicine could cause infertility. Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you plan to have children.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Blurred vision, loss of vision, changes in how you see color
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, increased sweating
  • Dark urine, decrease in how much or how often you urinate
  • Fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe itching, bleeding from your gums or nose
  • Pinpoint red or purple spots under your skin
  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Shaking, trembling, sweating, hunger, confusion
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Ringing in your ears, hearing loss
  • Upset stomach

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 11/6/2020

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