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Side Effects of Chloroquine

Like many older medications, limited information about the potential side effects of chloroquine is available. Some of the possible reactions to this prescription medication include vomiting, loss of appetite, and headaches. In most cases, people can take this medication without problems. However, contact your healthcare provider if you develop serious side effects, such as shortness of breath, seizures, or difficulty breathing.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Chloroquine

Just like any medicine, chloroquine phosphate (Aralen®) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the medication will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in many cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible chloroquine side effects. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Serious Chloroquine Side Effects

Some side effects of this drug are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • A rash, since chloroquine can cause serious skin reactions in rare cases (see Stevens-Johnson and Chloroquine for more information)
  • Vision problems, including:
    • Difficulty reading
    • Difficulty seeing an entire object
    • Light flashes or streaks
    • Complete loss of vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Muscle weakness or numbness
  • Signs of liver problems, including:
    • Dark urine
    • Loss of appetite
    • Pain in the upper part of the stomach
    • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • Signs of anemia or other blood cell problems, including:
    • Fatigue or extreme weakness or tiredness
    • Unusual bruising or bleeding
    • Pale skin
    • High fever, aches, and pains, which may be signs of an infection
  • Mental or mood problems, including:
    • Feeling anxious
    • Agitation
    • Extreme confusion
    • Unusual thoughts (psychosis)
    • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)
    • Depression
    • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Signs of heart problems, including:
    • Tiredness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Swelling of the legs or ankles
    • An irregular heartbeat
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing.

Chloroquine Drug Information

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