Chloroquine is a medicine to prevent malaria which is a life threatening disease caused by mosquitos. It is also used to treat malaria in the event you have transmitted it from a mosquito bite.
Chloroquine works by combating the parasite carrying the disease within the red blood cells, killing them off and preventing them from invading and multiplying. The parasites are called plasmodium, which are carried by infected mosquitoes. This is transferred to your bloodstream from a mosquito bite. Chloroquine is usually taken a week before you travel to prevent malaria.
Chloroquine is used as a preventative measure to stop you from getting malaria. If you do contract the disease you should see a health professional right away. A higher dose may be used to treat it or you may be given a different medicine.
Chloroquine is safe to use in most people if the instructions are followed accurately. Chloroquine is not suitable for everyone however and it can be toxic if an overdose is taken.
The active ingredient is Chloroquine phosphate.
Magnesium stearate (E572) and maize starch are the inactive ingredients in Chloroquine.
Please Note: Some different brands of generic Chloroquine may contain different inactive ingredients.
Each tablet is a 250mg dose. Generally, you take 2 tablets once a week, along with two Proguanil every day.
You should start taking Chloroquine 1 week before you travel and continue with the medicine for the duration of your trip and for 4 weeks after you return home. Chloroquine is taken as two tablets once a week alongside two Proguanil tablets every day. For children under 14 the doses are smaller. The tablet should be taken after food and with a glass of water or juice.
Being sensitive to the light is one of the possible side effects of Chloroquine.
There are a number of possible side effects associated with Chloroquine. You may experience:
You may not experience any side effects at all but if you do, you should let your GP know as it may be necessary to switch to a more suitable medicine.
Chloroquine shouldn’t be taken if you are allergic to any of the ingredients or if you are taking Amiodarone to steady your heart rate. Caution should be taken if you have:
If any of these issues apply to you then ask your doctor for advice before taking Chloroquine.
Chloroquine cannot be taken at the same time as Amiodarone. Consult your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
Chloroquine is generally safe to use during pregnancy but it’s not recommended to travel to regions where malaria is present if you are pregnant. Malaria poses a much higher risk to pregnant women.
Drinking alcohol can make the side effects of Chloroquine worse. It’s advised to see your doctor if this occurs and drink in moderation.
Chloroquine is not usually suitable to prevent malaria on its own as it doesn’t protect against the most dangerous form of parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. It can provide a measure of protection in certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Asia. Discuss your travel plans with your doctor so that they can prescribe you with the best treatment against malaria for your destination. You can also look at our malaria map and risk list to find out which medications you may need when you travel.
Chloroquine is only effective in certain parts of the world where the Plasmodium falciparum parasite is not present. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to prescribe you with the most suitable treatment depending on where you are travelling to.
Whilst antimalarials are usually recommended, there are other steps you can take to reduce your risk of malaria:
But remember, in most cases, antimalarial tablets are still the best option.
Other types of medicine designed to prevent malaria are Malarone (Atovaquone and Proguanil), Doxycycline and Lariam (Mefloquine). Chloroquine is limited in its suitability depending on what country you are travelling to as the more serious malaria parasites are immune to it.
Chloroquine is available to buy on prescription but it is not available on the NHS.
Chloroquine may provide protection against malaria in countries where the Plasmodium falciparum parasite is not present. The medicine is usually taken in combination with another tablet called Proguanil in order to effectively protect you from malaria in certain counties.
Yes, you should buy Chloroquine before you travel as you’ll need to start taking it one week before so that you will be protected against malaria.
Chloroquine may be prescribed along with other medicines to treat lupus. It helps to combat the sensitivity to UV light and sunlight and improves skin lesions. Chloroquine usually takes a couple of months to have an impact on lupus.
Chloroquine is not known to increase your risk of cancer.