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Quinidine for Malaria


Generic NameBrand Name

How It Works

Quinidine prevents the development of malaria parasites in the blood.

Quinidine is given through a needle directly into a vein (intravenously, or IV) for a maximum of 7 days. A person receiving quinidine is usually treated in a hospital, because his or her heart needs to be monitored during treatment.

Why It Is Used

You use quinidine for severe malaria infection if:

  • You cannot take oral antimalarial medicines.
  • You have serious complications (such as heart failure or kidney failure).
  • The percentage of red blood cells infected (density of parasites) is greater than 5%, and the infection is very severe.

How Well It Works

Quinidine is effective in the treatment of severe Plasmodium falciparum infections.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Very low levels of sugar in the blood (hypoglycemia).
  • Nausea and upset stomach.
  • Headache and blurred vision.
  • Ringing in the ears and temporary loss of hearing.
  • An abnormal heartbeat.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

You will take oral medicines to treat the malaria as soon as you stop taking intravenous (IV) quinidine.

In the United States, intravenous quinidine is used, because intravenous quinine is not available.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)Click here to view a form.(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last RevisedApril 11, 2013

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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