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Generic Chloroquine: Price, Side Effects, Precautions

Chloroquine is a drug used to treat malaria that is available in a generic form. It is also known as chloroquine phosphate. The drug is usually made as a white, round pill. It is typically used to prevent malaria, but it can also be used to treat other diseases.

What Is Chloroquine

Chloroquine is a drug with anti—inflammatory, immunosuppressive, antiarrhythmic, antimalarial and antiprotozoal effects.

Chloroquine was first synthesized in 1937 and was initially used to treat malaria as a more affordable alternative to quinine. Over time, other medicinal properties of this remedy were discovered, which made it possible to significantly expand the scope of therapeutic use of chloroquine.

chloroquine drug

At the moment, many pharmaceutical companies produce a generic Chloroquine, which is absolutely identical to the «original» chloroquine in chemical composition and therapeutic effect.

Advantages of Chloroquine

  • It contains the optimal therapeutic dosage of chloroquine — 250 mg. 
  • Chloroquine eliminates all the shortcomings that were identified during the clinical use of the first generations of chloroquine. 
  • A wide range of tablets in a package — for a therapy course of any duration.

Pharmacological Properties and Use of Chloroquine

What is Chloroquine For

Generic Chloroquine is prescribed for the treatment of malaria and protozoal infections, as well as a number of autoimmune diseases accompanied by inflammatory processes and / or metabolic dysfunctions.

How Chloroquine Works

The anti—inflammatory effect of chloroquine is based on the ability of this drug to influence a number of systemic metabolic processes involved in the formation of an inflammatory reaction, including those of allergic origin:

  • reduces the activity of leukocytes and lymphocytes (including T-killers);
  • stabilizes the state of cell membranes;
  • normalizes the number of red blood cells
  • suppresses autoallergic processes and prevents further division of sensitized cells.

In relation to malaria and protozoal infections, the action of Chloroquine consists in the active suppression of DNA synthesis by all species of Plasmodium and Entamoeba, which leads to their inevitable death.

Who Chloroquine Is For

Chloroquine is used in the treatment of the following diseases:

  • All types of malaria.
  • Extra-intestinal amoebiasis.
  • Amoebic liver abscess.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Scleroderma.
  • Cutaneous porphyria in the late stages.
chloroquine for malaria

Recommendations for the use of Chloroquine

Method of application and dosage

  • Malaria. On day 1: first 1 g of the drug, after 6-8 hours — 500 mg. On the 2nd and 3rd days: 750 mg.
  • Amoebiasis. First week: 500 mg 3 times a day. Second week: 250 mg 3 times a day. After the second week: 750 mg twice a week until full recovery.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. First week: 250 mg 2 times a day. After the first week and throughout the year: 250 mg daily.
  • Lupus erythematosus: 250-500 mg daily.

The scheme of taking Chloroquine and the daily dosage may be changed by the attending physician, depending on the age and condition of the patient, as well as the type and nature of the disease.

Chloroquine Contraindications

  • Severe forms of hepatic and/or renal insufficiency.
  • Visual disturbances, especially retinopathy or keratopathy.
  • Aplastic anemia.
  • Myocarditis complicated by arrhythmia.
  • Psoriatic arthritis.
  • Neutropenia, secondary porphyrinuria.
  • Pregnancy in any trimester.

Side Effects

With a probability of >2%, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, pain in the head or abdomen, muscle and / or joint pain, dermatitis, temporary photosensitization, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sleep disorders, seizures, hair loss, discoloration of the skin, confusion may occur.

Overdose

Exceeding the recommended dosages of Chloroquine or violation of the intake regimen can cause vomiting, headache, seizures, visual disturbances, impaired clarity of consciousness. In some cases, collapse and death may occur as a result of respiratory depression.

Treatment: urgently rinse the stomach (as an option — use an emetic), then give the patient activated charcoal in a dosage five times higher than the dose of Chloroquine. With severe intoxication, plasmapheresis or peritoneal dialysis is indicated.

Interaction of Chloroquine with Other Drugs

It is strictly forbidden to take Chloroquine simultaneously with the following groups of drugs:

  • Auranofin, Levamisole, Penicillamine, Phenylbutazone: due to increased neurotoxicity.
  • Cytostatic drugs: Carboplatin, Cisplatin, Cyclophosphamide, etc.
  • Antimalarial agents: Amodiaquine, Mefloquine, Primachine, etc.

Combining Chloroquine with the following drugs also requires caution:

  • Antacids: Aldroxicon, Acid Gone, Maalox, Pepcid Complete, etc
  • Cimetidine: may increase the content of chloroquine in blood plasma.
  • Glucocorticoids: Beclomethasone, Dexamethasone, Prednisone, etc.
  • Cardiac glycosides: Amrinone, Digoxin, Isadrin, etc.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors: Phenelzine, Deprenyl, Moclobemide, etc.

Antacid group drugs worsen the absorption of chloroquine. Glucocorticoids increase the risk of cardiomyopathy and myopathy.

Cardiac glycosides and monoamine oxidase inhibitors in combination with Chloroquine become significantly more toxic.

Special Instructions and Precautions

  • Long-term use of Chloroquine requires constant monitoring of the condition of the retina and cornea of the eyes.
  • In the last decade, there has been an increase in resistance in certain Plasmodium species to the action of chloroquine — in particular in Plasmodium falciparum.

FAQ

generic chloroquine

Can I take Chloroquine during pregnancy?
Only for the prevention of malaria and only in a dosage individually selected by the attending physician.

Is giving Chloroquine to Children prohibited?
It is allowed to use Chloroquine for the treatment of children aged 1 month and up to 15 years who are subject to individual correction of the dosage and regimen of the drug.

Is Chloroquine safe for the elderly?
The decisive factor in the appointment of Chloroquine to persons over 65 years of age is not age, but the preservation of renal function, since chloroquine is excreted from the body via kidneys.

Is it true that Chloroquine is dangerous for the eyes?
With prolonged use, the drug can have a toxic effect on the cornea and retina of the eye, as a result of which patients taking Chloroquine should be regularly monitored by an ophthalmologist.

Is Chloroquine effective for the treatment of COVID-19?
There is no evidence that chloroquine phosphate is effective in treatment of COVID-19. In the first few months, Chloroquine, along with other antimalarial drugs, was used to suppress the activity of the causative agent of the disease, SARS-CoV-2, but in the fall of 2020, the US National Institutes of Health abandoned this practice due to its complete ineffectiveness (link?).

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