Quinine: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Price, Composition, Precautions & More

What Is Quinine?

Quinine contains quinine sulfate as it’s active ingredient. It is generally used in the treatment of malaria.

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Uses Of Quinine

Quinine is used for treating falciparum malaria.

It is also used in the treatment and prevention of nocturnal leg cramps in adults and the elderly, when cramps cause regular disruption of sleep.

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How Does Quinine Work?

The precise mechanism of action of quinine is unclear but it may interfere with lysosome function or nucleic acid synthesis in the malaria parasite.

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How to Take Quinine?

Quinine tablet is meant to be taken orally, with or without food.

Common Dosage Of Quinine

For the treatment of falciparum malaria, common adultdosage of quinine is 600mg every eight hours for 7 days.

For the treatment and prevention of nocturnal leg cramps, common adult dose is 200mg at bedtime. The maximum dose is 300mg.

When to Avoid Quinine& Precautions To Take?

Quinine is contraindicated in the following conditions :

  • Haemolysis or Haemoglobinuria
  • Optic neuritis
  • Tinnitus
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Use with caution in patients with cardiac disorders.
  • Do not consume quinine if you develop a hypersensitivity reaction towards it. Symptoms of hypersensitivity reactionincludes cinchonism, urticaria, flushing, pruritus, rash, fever, angioedema, dyspnoea and asthma.
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Side Effects Of Quinine

Common side effects include :

  • Mild headache
  • Flushing
  • Unusual sweating
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle weakness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Decreased hearing
  • Dizziness
  • Spinning sensation
  • Blurred vision
  • Temporary changes in color vision
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Effect on Organs?

Quinine may cause unpredictable serious and life-threatening thrombocytopenia, which is thought to be an idiosyncratic hypersensitivity reaction.

Quinine has been implicated in precipitating black water fever when given for prolonged periods.

Quinine may cause hypoprothrombinaemia and enhance the effects of anticoagulants.

Reported Allergic Reactions?

Administration of quinine may give rise to cinchonism, which is generally more severe in overdose, but may also occur in normal therapeutic doses. Patients should be warned not to exceed the prescribed dose, because of the possibility of serious, irreversible side effects in overdose. Such symptoms include tinnitus, impaired hearing, headache, nausea, and disturbed vision.

Hypersensitivity to quinine may also occur with symptoms of cinchonism together with urticaria, flushing, pruritus, rash, fever, angioedema, dyspnoea and asthma.

Serious hypersensitivity reactions including Stevens-Johnson syndrome have been reported with quinine.

Drug Interactions to be careful about?

Quinine shows interaction with the following drugs :

  • Rifampicin
  • Barbiturates
  • Carbamazepine
  • Phenytoin
  • Amantadine
  • Cyclosporin

Shows Effects/Results In

Onset of action of quinine can be seen within 1 to 2 hours of oral administration.

Duration of effect lasts for about 10 to 12 hours.

Storage Requirements for Quinine

Store below 25°C in a dry place.

Pro Tips When Taking Quinine

Patients who have previously experienced any adverse reaction to quinine, including that in tonic water or other beverages should not consume quinine.

Patients should be instructed to stop treatment and consult a physician if signs of thrombocytopenia such as unexplained bruising or bleeding occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Quinine addictive?


Can I have Quinine with alcohol?


Any particular food item to be avoided?


Can I have Quinine when pregnant?

Avoid unless absolutely necessary.

Can I have Quinine when feeding a baby?

Avoid unless absolutely necessary.

Can I drive after taking Quinine?


What happens if I overdose on Quinine?

Acute intoxication can be seen after ingestion of doses of 4-12g, but a dose of 8g can prove lethal. The average fatal dose for an adult is about 8g although deaths have been reported from as little as 1.5g in an adult and 900mg in a child.

Quinine over dosage may lead to serious side effects including irreversible visual loss, and can be fatal.Symptoms of over dosage include vomiting, tinnitus, deafness, headache, vasodilation and visual disturbance.Seek immediate medical attention in such a case.

What happens if I eat expired Quinine?

No major side effect is seen upon consumption of a single dose of expired medicine. However, if you notice any severe side effects, immediately inform your doctor.

What happens if I miss a dose of Quinine?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember.

If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose

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