Chloroquine is a medication that belongs to the class of antimalarial drugs. It is primarily used to prevent and treat malaria, a life-threatening mosquito-borne disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite. Chloroquine works by interfering with the parasite’s ability to survive and reproduce within the body. This drug can also be used for the treatment of certain autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus. Chloroquine is available in tablet form and is usually taken orally.
- Chloroquine should not be taken by individuals with known hypersensitivity to the drug or any of its components.
- Patients with a history of retinal or visual field changes should exercise caution when using this medication.
- Caution should be exercised in patients with hepatic or renal impairment, as the drug is primarily metabolized in the liver and excreted through the kidneys.
- Chloroquine should not be used in patients with a history of epilepsy or other seizure disorders.
- It is important to inform your healthcare provider about any other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with chloroquine.
What to Expect When Taking Chloroquine
- Common side effects of chloroquine include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.
- Less frequently, patients may experience headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, or mood changes.
- In rare cases, chloroquine can cause severe allergic reactions. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop a rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing while taking this medication.
- Prolonged use of high doses of chloroquine can lead to retinal toxicity, which may manifest as visual disturbances and can potentially result in permanent vision loss.
- Regular eye examinations are recommended in individuals on long-term chloroquine therapy to monitor for any signs of retinal toxicity.
Chloroquine should be taken exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. It is important to continue taking the medication for the full prescribed duration, even if your symptoms improve.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed one.
In case of overdose, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of overdose may include severe drowsiness, seizures, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty breathing.
Chloroquine can interact with several other medications, potentially affecting their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects.
|Cimetidine||May increase plasma levels of chloroquine|
|Cyclosporine||Concurrent use may result in increased blood levels of cyclosporine|
|Antacids containing magnesium or aluminum||May reduce the absorption of chloroquine|
|Digoxin||Chloroquine may reduce serum levels of digoxin|
Chloroquine: Inquiry and Response
- Q: Can chloroquine be used to prevent malaria?
- A: Yes, chloroquine is commonly used as a prophylactic medication for individuals traveling to areas where malaria is prevalent.
- Q: Can chloroquine be used during pregnancy?
- A: Chloroquine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks to the fetus. Consult with your healthcare provider before taking this medication if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- Q: Is it safe to breastfeed while taking chloroquine?
- A: Small amounts of chloroquine are excreted into breast milk, and its safety during breastfeeding is not well established. Talk to your doctor for guidance if you are breastfeeding.
- Q: How long does chloroquine stay in the body?
- A: The half-life of chloroquine is approximately 20-60 days. It may take several weeks for the drug to be completely eliminated from the body.
- Q: Can chloroquine be used to treat COVID-19?
- A: While chloroquine has shown promise in laboratory studies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, its effectiveness and safety for this purpose are still under investigation. It should only be used for COVID-19 treatment under the supervision of a healthcare professional.