Why is this medication prescribed?
Quinine is used to prevent and treat malaria.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Quinine comes in capsules and tablets to take by mouth. It usually is taken three times a day (every 8 hours) for 3 days for malaria attacks, twice a day for 6 weeks to prevent or suppress malaria, and at bedtime for leg cramps. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take quinine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Since quinine is very bitter, do not chew tablets before swallowing them.
Other uses for this medicine
Quinine also is used to treat nighttime leg muscle cramps. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking quinine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to quinine, quinidine, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially acetazolamide, antacids, anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), cimetidine (Tagamet), digitoxin, digoxin (Lanoxin), quinidine, and vitamins. Do not take antacids that contain aluminum (e.g., aluminum hydroxide) or sodium bicarbonate without talking to your doctor. Also, avoid tonic water and nonprescription cold preparations that contain quinine.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had G-6-PD deficiency (an inherited blood disease), ringing ears, eye problems, or blackwater fever.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking quinine, call your doctor immediately.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking quinine.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it, and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. However, if you take only one dose per day at bedtime, skip the missed dose completely. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from quinine are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- stomach upset
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- skin rash
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the face
- vision problems or changes
- difficulty hearing or ringing in the ears
- easy bruising
- unusual bleeding
- sore throat
- fast heartbeat
- chest pain
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.