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Chloroquine treats and prevents malaria. It is also used to treat infections caused by amoebae. In addition, Chloroquine treats sarcoidosis; amebiasis and belongs to the drug classes amebicides, antimalarial quinolines.
This medicine works by interfering with the growth of parasites in the red blood cells of the human body.
Parasites that cause malaria typically enter the body through the bite of a mosquito. Malaria is common in areas such as Africa, South America, and Southern Asia.
How to take
Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Chloroquine is sometimes given only once per week. Choose the same day each week to take this medication if you are on a weekly dosing schedule.
To prevent malaria: Start taking the medicine 2 weeks before entering an area where malaria is common. Continue taking the medicine regularly during your stay and for at least 8 weeks after you leave the area.
Take Chloroquine for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. If you are taking this medicine to treat malaria, your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated.
Use Chloroquine regularly to best prevent malaria. If you stop using the medication early for any reason, talk to your doctor about other forms of malaria prevention.
Some people taking this medication over long periods of time or at high doses have developed irreversible damage to the retina of the eye.
Stop taking Chloroquine and call your doctor at once if you have trouble focusing, if you see light streaks or flashes in your vision, or if you notice any swelling or color changes in your eyes.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Chloroquine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- vision problems, trouble reading or seeing objects, hazy vision;
- hearing loss or ringing in the ears;
- seizure (convulsions);
- severe muscle weakness, loss of coordination, underactive reflexes;
- nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Chloroquine and talk to your doctor if you experience
- diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps;
- temporary hair loss, changes in hair color; or
- mild muscle weakness.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.
Avoid taking an antacid or Kaopectat within 4 hours before or after you take Chloroquine. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb Chloroquine.
If you also take an antibiotic called ampicillin (Principen, Unasyn), avoid taking it within 2 hours before or after you take Chloroquine. Chloroquine can make ampicillin much less effective when taken at the same time.
This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:
- cimetidine (Tagamet);
- cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);
- mefloquine (Lariam);
- an antibiotic, antifungal medicine, sulfa drug, or tuberculosis medicine;
- birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
- blood pressure medication;
- cancer medication;
- cholesterol-lowering medications such as Lipitor, Niaspan, Zocor, Vytorin, and others;
- gout or arthritis medications (including gold injections);
- HIV/AIDS medications;
- medicines to treat psychiatric disorders;
- an NSAID such as Advil, Aleve, Arthrotec, Cataflam, Celebrex, Indocin, Motrin, Naprosyn, Treximet, Generic Voltaren, and others; or
- seizure medications.
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Chloroquine.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
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