Primaquine is used in the treatment and prevention of malaria (a disease characterised by chills, fever and sweating that is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito).
Take Primaquine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take it together with food or immediately after a meal. Try to take it at the same time each day.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of treatment depending on the type of your infection and on the place where you have acquired the infection.
Take Primaquine at regular intervals. Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course of this medicine. If you don't, the infection will not be properly controlled.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- lupus or systemic lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of certain organs in the body)
- rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation in the joints of fingers, wrist, feet, and ankles)
- severe G6PD deficiency (an inherited blood disorder where the body lacks a certain enzyme necessary for the proper functioning of red blood cells)
as Primaquine may not be suitable for you.
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with Primaquine, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods while taking Primaquine and possibly for some time after the treatment.
Men with partners that may get pregnant may be advised to use a condom while being treated with this medicine and for some time after the last dose. You may wish to discuss this further with your doctor.
Do not take Primaquine with certain medicines used to treat infections due to parasites and medicines that can affect the bone marrow or cause haemolytic anaemia (a type of anaemia where red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them). Please see the section "Can I take this with other medicines?" below for more information.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- family or personal history of haemolytic anaemia
- an inherited blood disorder where the body lacks a certain enzyme necessary for the proper functioning of red blood cells e.g. mild to moderate G6PD deficiency, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) methaemoglobin reductase deficiency
- heart disease e.g. abnormal or slow heartbeat
- untreated low potassium or magnesium levels in the blood
Let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Primaquine to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests and screening for G6PD deficiency must be done before treatment to know if this medicine is suited for you to take.
- Routine tests (e.g. blood count, sugar or electrolyte levels, urinalysis) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring of signs of haemolytic anaemia or other side effects on the blood may also be needed.
In addition to taking this medicine, you must also take preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites. This will help prevent you from being re-infected with malaria. Use an effective insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to reduce exposure. Avoid going out between dusk to dawn. Effective insect repellents should contain at least 20-33% diethyltoluamide (DEET).
The symptoms of malaria are fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and a flu-like illness. Consult a doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms again, and anytime within 1 year after leaving the area known to have malaria, especially within 3 months of your return from the area.
Primaquine may cause any of the following side effects: headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, dizziness, rash, itching, and visual disturbances.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- darkening of the urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes
- blue or grey colour of the lips, nails, or skin, severe dizziness or headache, drowsiness, shortness of breath
- fast or abnormal heartbeat, passing out
- fever, chills, sore throat
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Primaquine with the following medicines:
- mepacrine (medicine to treat malaria or other parasitic infections)
- medicines that can reduce the function of bone marrow e.g. fluorouracil
- medicines that can cause haemolytic anaemia e.g. dapsone, methyldopa
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking certain medicines for irregular heartbeat.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements, and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.