BRAND NAME: Aralen
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
PRESCRIBED FOR: Chloroquine is used for treating acute attacks of malaria due to P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale, and susceptible strains of P. falciparum. The drug is also used for the treatment of extraintestinal amebiasis. Chloroquine is not effective for malaria prevention.
Common side effects of chloroquine include:
- Irreversible retinal
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Reduced hearing
- Increased liver enzymes
Other, rare side effects of chloroquine include:
- Hair loss and bleaching of hair
Possible serious effects of chloroquine include:
- Personality changes
- Extrapyramidal disorders
- Aplastic anemia
- Serious allergic reactions
- Muscle damage (myopathy)
- Maculopathy and macular degeneration
There have been rare reports of severe skin reactions such as erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and exfoliative dermatitis.
Chloroquine may precipitate a severe attack of psoriasis in patients with psoriasis and may worsen porphyria. Chloroquine should not be used in these conditions unless the benefit to the patient outweighs the potential risks.
People with retinal or visual field changes should not use chloroquine unless it is absolutely necessary.
Chloroquine should not be used for treatment of P. falciparum infections from areas of chloroquine resistance or malaria occurring in patients where chloroquine prophylaxis has failed.
Patients infected with a resistant strains of plasmodia should be treated with another antimalarial drug.
Retinopathy, maculopathy, irreversible retinal damage, as well as macular degeneration have been reported. Retinopathy from chloroquine may be dose related. Initial and periodic eye examinations are recommended during prolonged treatment. Chloroquine should be discontinued immediately if there are changes in vision.
Chloroquine may cause acute extrapyramidal disorders (abnormal, uncontrollable body movements) that usually resolve after treatment is stopped.
Patients should be observed for evidence of muscular weakness. If weakness occurs treatment should be stopped.
Fatalities have occurred in children from accidental ingestion of small doses of chloroquine. Chloroquine should be kept out of the reach of children.
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