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Quinine Sulfate Oral capsule

It is used to treat malaria

Generic Name: quinine

Brand Names: Quinine Sulfate Anhydrous, Qualaquin, Qm-260, Quinine Sulfate Dihydrate

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

  • Serious and life-threatening hematologic reactions, including thrombocytopenia and hemolytic uremic syndrome/thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (HUS/TTP), may occur if quinine is used for treatment or prevention of nocturnal leg cramps†.
  • Chronic renal impairment associated with TTP reported.
  • Known risks associated with use of quinine, in the absence of evidence of safety and efficacy of the drug for treatment or prevention of nocturnal leg cramps†, outweigh any potential benefits for this unlabeled indication.

    (See Use for Treatment or Prevention of Nocturnal Leg Cramps under Cautions.)


FDA approved a REMS for quinine sulfate to ensure that the benefits of a drug outweigh the risks. The REMS may apply to one or more preparations of quinine sulfate and consists of the following: medication guide and communication plan. See the FDA REMS page ([Web]) or the ASHP REMS Resource Center ([Web]).

What is this medicine?

QUININE (KWYE nine) is an antimalarial agent. It is used to treat malaria. Quinine should not be used to prevent leg cramps.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • diabetes
  • glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
  • heart problems, irregular heartbeats
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • muscle weakness or disease
  • vision or hearing problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to quinine, quinidine, mefloquine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not crush or chew. Take with food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not skip doses or stop your medicine early even if you feel better. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • cisapride
  • cholinesterase inhibitors like edrophonium, neostigmine, physostigmine, and pyridostigmine
  • erythromycin, troleandomycin
  • flecainide
  • other antimalarial drugs like mefloquine, halofantrine
  • pimozide
  • quinidine
  • rifampin
  • some medicines for irregular heart rhythm
  • some medicines used during surgery

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • acetazolamide
  • antacids
  • atorvastatin
  • cimetidine
  • desipramine
  • digoxin
  • heparin
  • ketoconazole
  • lovastatin
  • simvastatin
  • sodium bicarbonate
  • some antibiotics
  • some medicines to treat seizures
  • tonic water that contains quinine
  • warfarin

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. Let your doctor know if your symptoms do not improve or if you feel worse. Contact your doctor right away if your fevers come back after you finish this medicine.

Some people may have low blood sugar while taking this medicine. Low blood sugar can make you feel lightheaded, dizzy, sweaty, confused, shaky, anxious, or weak. If you feel this way drink some fruit juice or have a snack then call your doctor. If you are diabetic, check your blood sugar as directed.

Avoid antacids with aluminum or magnesium for 2 hours before and after taking a dose of this medicine.

Tell your health care provider that you are taking this medicine before you have any surgery, procedure, or dental work.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • change in vision
  • difficulty breathing
  • fainting
  • fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain
  • hearing loss or ringing
  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • seizure
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual red or purple spots on the skin
  • unusually weak

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • flushing
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • stomach upset, vomiting
  • sweating

Last Updated: April 15, 2010
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