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Specific Quinine Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
  • Quinine is not approved for the treatment or prevention of nighttime leg cramps and should not be used for this reason. This medication can potentially cause serious and sometimes life-threatening reactions. The risk for these reactions is greater than any potential benefit of using quinine for leg cramps. If you are experiencing nighttime leg cramps, talk to your healthcare provider about safer treatment options.
  • Quinine may decrease the amount of platelets (blood cells needed for the blood to clot) in your blood, increasing your risk for serious bleeding. This reaction may also cause serious kidney problems.
  • Quinine can cause a serious problem with the heart rhythm, known as QT prolongation. This can be dangerous, especially in people who already have a similar problem known as long QT syndrome or in people who are taking other QT-prolonging medications.
  • Quinine can increase the amount of insulin that is released into the body from the pancreas, causing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). The risk of hypoglycemia is greatest in pregnant women. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience signs of low blood sugar levels while taking quinine. Signs of hypoglycemia may include:
    • Sweating
    • Shakiness
    • Weakness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Confusion.
  • Quinine may interact with a number of other medications (see Drug Interactions With Quinine for more information).
  • Quinine is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Quinine and Pregnancy).
  • Quinine likely passes through breast milk in small amounts. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Quinine and Breastfeeding).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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