Primaquine kills parasites in the blood
You take primaquine as a pill
To prevent malaria, you take primaquine daily, 1 to 2 days before you travel to an area where malaria is present, and then daily while you are in the area and for 7 days after you leave.1
To prevent relapses of malaria due to parasites that
persist in the liver, you take this medicine daily for 14 days.1, 2
People take primaquine to kill
malaria parasites that may persist in the liver. It is generally only used for
people with exposure to or known infection with Plasmodium (P.)vivax and P. ovale.
To prevent relapses of infections caused by
P. ovale or P. malariae
parasites, you should take primaquine after you leave the area where these
parasites are present.
Primaquine is most effective for
preventing relapses of P. vivax and/or P. ovale.
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:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of primaquine include:
In people who have
glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, primaquine
can cause a sudden breakdown of red blood cells and severe anemia.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
You need to be tested for
glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
before taking primaquine.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.
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)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
CitationsHill DR, et al. (2006). The practice of travel
medicine: Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Clinical Infectious Diseases, 43(12):
1499–1539.Freedman DO (2008). Malaria prevention in short-term
travelers. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(6):
May 14, 2012
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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