What is Primaquine Used For?
How Does It Work?As described above, certain types of malaria persist in the liver for months to years, causing recurrent malaria symptoms when the parasites move to the blood. Most antimalarial drugs kill the parasites in the blood. However, malaria may return if parasites remain in the liver.
Primaquine cures malaria by killing the malaria parasites in the liver, thus preventing a return (or relapse) of the disease. It is not known exactly how primaquine does this.
Can Children Use This Medication?Primaquine is not approved for children under the age of 18. However, it is often used "off-label" in this age group. The dose of primaquine given to children is based on the child's weight; however, primaquine is only available in an adult strength. Your pharmacist or healthcare provider will work to find a solution to this problem if using primaquine in a child.
Can Older Adults Use It?It is unknown whether older adults respond differently to primaquine than other age groups. Because older adults are more likely to have other medical conditions, and to take additional medications that may interact with primaquine, this medication should be used cautiously in older adults. A lower dose may be necessary.
Off-Label Uses for PrimaquineOn occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend primaquine for something other than preventing malaria relapses. This would be known as an "off-label" use. Some "off-label" uses of primaquine may include:
- Treatment of malaria caused by P. ovale
- Malaria prevention
- Treatment of pneumocystis pneumonia.