Aralen (Chloroquine Phosphate)
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Chloroquine Phosphate Information
(klor' oh kwin)Chloroquine is currently being studied for the treatment and prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Several chloroquine clinical studies are ongoing in people with COVID-19 in China and other countries, but more information is needed to know how well it works to treat or prevent COVID-19. While there are reports that chloroquine can keep the virus from spreading in your body and shorten the time that you feel sick, there also are concerns about side effects and drug interactions that may occur from taking it. Of note, the FDA has approved an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow chloroquine to treat adults and adolescents who weigh at least 110 pounds (50 kg) and who are hospitalized with COVID-19, but who are unable to participate in a clinical study. Chloroquine should ONLY be taken under the direction of a doctor.
Before using chloroquine phosphate,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to chloroquine phosphate, chloroquine hydrochloride, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention acetaminophen (Tylenol, others); azithromycin (Zithromax); cimetidine (Tagamet); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); insulin and oral medications for diabetes; medications for seizures such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, Teril), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), or valproic acid (Depakene); certain medications for irregular heartbeat such as amiodarone (Pacerone); methotrexate (Trexall, Xatmep); moxifloxacin (Avelox); praziquantel (Biltricide); and tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with chloroquine, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- if you are taking antacids, take them 4 hours before or 4 hours after chloroquine. If you are taking ampicillin, take it at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after chloroquine.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease, heart disease, a prolonged QT interval (a rare heart problem that may cause irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death), an irregular heartbeat, a low level of magnesium or potassium in your blood, G-6-PD deficiency (an inherited blood disease), hearing problems, porphyria or other blood disorders, psoriasis, seizures, vision problems, diabetes, weakness in your knees and ankles, or if you drink large amounts of alcohol.
- tell your doctor if you have ever had vision changes while taking chloroquine phosphate, chloroquine hydrochloride, or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while using chloroquine phosphate, call your doctor.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Chloroquine phosphate can harm a nursing infant.
- do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.
- loss of appetite
- upset stomach
- stomach pain
- hair loss
- seeing light flashes and streaks
- blurred vision
- reading or seeing difficulties (words disappear, seeing half an object, misty or foggy vision)
- difficulty hearing
- ringing in ears
- muscle weakness
- irregular heartbeats
- difficulty breathing
- mood or mental changes
- decreased consciousness or loss of counsciousness
- thinking about harming or killing yourself