2011501655 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Primaquine

    (prim' a kwin)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Primaquine is used alone or with another medication to treat malaria (a serious infection that is spread by mosquitoes in certain parts of the world and can cause death) and to prevent the disease from coming back in people that are infected with malaria. Primaquine is in a class of medications called antimalarials. It works by killing the organisms that cause malaria.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Primaquine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day for 14 days. Take primaquine at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take primaquine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
    Take primaquine until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop taking primaquine too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated.

    Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

    Primaquine is also sometimes used to treat Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (lung disease caused by fungus). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this drug for your condition.
    This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking primaquine,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to primaquine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in primaquine tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
    • tell your doctor if you are taking penicillin; cephalosporins such as cephalexin (Keflex), cefaclor, cefuroxime (Ceftin), cefdinir (Omnicef), or cefpodoxime (Vantin); levodopa (in Sinemet); medications to treat cancer;methyldopa (Aldomet); or quinidine. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take primaquine. Also do not take primaquine if you are taking or have recently taken quinacrine (not available in the US).
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
    • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had rheumatoid arthritis, hemolytic anemia (a condition with an abnormally low number of red blood cells), lupus erythematosus (a disease that occurs when the body's tissues are attacked by antibodies from its own immune system), methemoglobinemia (a condition with defective red blood cells that are unable to carry oxygen to the tissues in the body),nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) deficiency (a genetic condition), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency (a genetic condition), or if you or someone in your family has had a reaction after eating fava beans.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking primaquine, call your doctor.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Primaquine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • heartburn
    • abdominal cramps
    Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
    • tiredness
    • pale skin
    • shortness of breath
    • fast heartbeat
    • yellowing of the skin or eyes
    • dark colored urine
    • headache
    • lack of energy
    • grey-bluish color of lips and/or skin
    • nervousness
    • seizure
    • weak pulse
    • confusion
    • sore throat, fever, cough, or other signs of infection
    • fainting
    • dizziness
    • blurred vision
    Primaquine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
    Symptoms of overdose may include:
    • abdominal cramps
    • vomiting
    • heartburn
    • grey-bluish color of lips and/or skin
    • headache
    • lack of energy
    • nervousness
    • seizure
    • weak pulse
    • confusion
    • fainting
    • dizziness
    • blurred vision

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to primaquine.
    Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking primaquine.
    Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.