- Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow
- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Hepatitis C Slideshow Pictures
- What is Aralen (chloroquine), and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- Is it available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for this drug?
- What are the uses for Aralen?
- What are the side effects of Aralen?
- Other adverse reactions and side effects of Aralen
- What is the dosage for this Aralen?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with this medication?
- Is this drug safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about this medication?
What is Aralen (chloroquine), and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Chloroquine, brand name Aralen, is an anti-malarial drug. It is similar to hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), and is useful in treating several forms of malaria as well as amebiasis that has spread outside of the intestines. Its mechanism of action is unknown; however, malarial parasites invade human red blood cells, and chloroquine may prevent malarial parasites from breaking down (metabolizing) hemoglobin in human red blood cells. Chloroquine is effective against the malarial parasites Plasmodium vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale, and susceptible strains of P. falciparum.
Quick GuideSymptoms of Mono: Infectious Mononucleosis Treatment
Do I need a prescription for this drug?
Yes, you need a prescription for Aralen from your doctor or other health care professional.
What are the uses for Aralen?
Aralen is used for treating:
- Acute attacks of malaria due to P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale, and susceptible strains of P. falciparum
- Extraintestinal amebiasis
Aralen is not effective for malaria prevention. It suppresses malaria infection, stops acute attacks, and lengthens the time between treatment and relapse.
It's off-label use (non-FDA approved use) is for the treatment of porphyria cutanea tarda.
What are the side effects of Aralen?
Common side effects include
- Irreversible damage to the retina
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Reduced hearing
- Increased liver enzymes
Other, rare side effects
- Hair loss and bleaching of hair
Possible serious effects
Other adverse reactions and side effects of Aralen
- 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.
- Some strains of P. falciparum are resistant to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Chloroquine resistance is widespread.
- 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.
What is the dosage for this Aralen?
- For acute malaria attacks in adults the initial dose is 1 g followed by an additional 500 mg after 6 to 8 hours, then 500 mg 24 and 48 hours after the first dose.
- The dose for treating children is 10 mg/kg for the first dose then 5 mg/kg daily for 2 days, starting 6 hours after the first dose.
- The dose for treating intestinal amebiasis is 1 g daily for two days, followed by 500 mg daily for at least two to three weeks.
Chloroquine usually is combined with an effective intestinal amebicide.
Which drugs or supplements interact with this medication?
- Antacids and kaolin can reduce absorption of chloroquine. Administration of this drug and these agents should be separated by at least 4 hours.
- Cimetidine (Tagamet) can block the breakdown of chloroquine, increasing its blood levels. This combination should be avoided.
- Chloroquine significantly reduces blood levels of ampicillin. Ingestion of ampicillin and chloroquine should be separated by at least two hours.
- Chloroquine may increase cyclosporine blood levels. Cyclosporine blood levels should be monitored and, if necessary, chloroquine should be stopped.
- Combining chloroquine and mefloquine may increase the risk of seizures.
- Chloroquine can reduce the antibody response to primary immunization with intradermal human diploid-cell rabies vaccine.
Is this drug safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- There are no studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of chloroquine in during pregnancy. If you are pregnant this drug should be avoided unless it is necessary and the benefit outweighs the risk.
- Chloroquine is excreted in breast milk.
What else should I know about this medication?
- This drug is available as 250mg and 500 mg tablets.
- Keep this medication stored at room temperature, between 15-30 C (59-86 F).
- The FDA approved chloroquine in October 1949.
Quick GuideSymptoms of Mono: Infectious Mononucleosis Treatment
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Fungus Among Us: What to Know About Fungal Infections in Pictures
Protect yourself from different fungal infections like ringworm, athlete's foot, and jock itch. Discover how to treat fungal...
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Quiz: Test Your SLE IQ
This Lupus Quiz covers causes, signs, symptoms, facts, and treatments for this inflammatory autoimmune disease....
Related Disease Conditions
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease....
Sarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body...
Malaria is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms include fever, chills,...
Amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica Infection)
Amebiasis is an infection caused by an amoeba. Signs and symptoms include bloody stools, abdominal pain, weight loss, fever, and...
Is Malaria Contagious?
Malaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected mosquito. The incubation period for malaria depends upon the species of...
Antibiotic Resistance (Drug Resistance, Antimicrobial Resistance)
Drug resistance (antimicrobial resistance) is the ability of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses to grow, even in the...
Travelers should prepare for their trip by visiting their physician to get the proper vaccinations and obtain the necessary...
Weber-Christian disease is a rare inflammatory disease that affects the body's fat tissues. It's also known as relapsing febrile...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Daily Health News
Infectious Disease Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top chloroquine-oral Related Articles
Amebiasis Entamoeba histolytica InfectionAmebiasis is an infection caused by an amoeba. Signs and symptoms include bloody stools, abdominal pain, weight loss, fever, and gas. Treatment may involve taking luminal agents or antibiotics. Surgery may be indicated for various reasons.
Antibiotic ResistanceDrug resistance (antimicrobial resistance) is the ability of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses to grow, even in the presence of a drug that would normally kill it (or limit it's growth). Drug resistance is a growing problem, particularly for infections such as MRSA, VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci), tuberculosis, HIV, STDs, gonorrhea, flu, pneumonia, malaria, E. coli, salmonella, Campylobacter, which causes diarrhea and gastroenteritis. Learn how to protect yourself from resistance to drugs.
Fungus Among UsProtect yourself from different fungal infections like ringworm, athlete's foot, and jock itch. Discover how to treat fungal infections on the foot, hand, skin and everywhere on your body.
Is Malaria ContagiousMalaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected mosquito. The incubation period for malaria depends upon the species of Plasmodium that the infected mosquito transmits to the individual. Symptoms include high fever, chills, sweating, headaches, vomiting, and nausea.
Malaria FactsMalaria is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and body aches. Treatment involves supportive care and antibiotics.
SarcoidosisSarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body tissues and can appear in almost any body organ. However, sarcoidosis most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Systemic LupusSystemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Take the Lupus QuizThis Lupus Quiz covers causes, signs, symptoms, facts, and treatments for this inflammatory autoimmune disease.
Travel MedicineTravelers should prepare for their trip by visiting their physician to get the proper vaccinations and obtain the necessary medication if they have a medical condition or chronic disease. Diseases that travelers may pick up from contaminated water or food, insect or animal bites, or from other people include:
- meningococcal meningitis,
- yellow fever,
- hepatitis A,
- typhoid fever,
- polio, and
Weber-Christian DiseaseWeber-Christian disease is a rare inflammatory disease that affects the body's fat tissues. It's also known as relapsing febrile nodular panniculitis syndrome and idiopathic lobular panniculitis. The disorder appears on the skin as red or purple tender, raised lumps. The thighs and lower legs are the most frequently affected areas. Other symptoms may include:
- weight loss,
- joint pain, and
- abdominal pain.