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What is this medication?

Antimalarial Agent; Aminoquinoline

Primaquine is indicated for malaria treatment.

How does this medication work?

Primaquine is an antiprotozoal agent that is active against the exoerythrocytic stages of Plasmodium ovale and P. vivax.  It is also active against the primary exoerythrocytic stages of P. falciparum and gametocytes of Plasmodia.  It works by disrupting mitochondria and binds to DNA.

How should I take this medication?

Oral: 30 mg once daily for 14 days in combination with another appropriate antimalarial agent.

In patients weighing ≥70 kg, adjust to a total dose of 6 mg/kg, administered in daily doses of 30 mg once daily for the number of days required to complete the total calculated dose. For patients with intermediate G6PD activity, may consider 45 mg once weekly for 8 weeks, with close monitoring for hemolysis.

How to Take: Follow instructions provided by physician/pharmacy label, take consistently at same times each day unless otherwise directed, store at room temperature.  Administer with meals to decrease adverse GI effects. If patient vomits within 30 minutes of taking a dose, then they should repeat the dose.

What should I watch for while using this medication?

Before starting Primaquine make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take, if you have severe G6PD deficiency, NADH methemoglobin reductase deficiency, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. Primaquine use has been associated with rare but serious adverse events such as QT prolongation, anemia, methemoglobinemia, leukopenia, and hemolytic anemia.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible.  However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose.  Do not take double or extra doses.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times.  Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C).  Protect from light.  Keep the container tightly closed.  Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication?

Cardiac arrhythmia, dizziness, prolonged QT interval on ECG, pruritus, skin rash, abdominal cramps, epigastric distress, nausea, vomiting, anemia, hemolytic anemia (in patients with G6PD deficiency), leukopenia, methemoglobinemia (in NADH-methemoglobin reductase-deficient individuals)

Note the frequency of side effects have not been established in clinical trials.