Quinine is a drug commonly used to treat malaria. The Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of all non-approved brands of quinine–there is currently only one approved brand on the market for use in treating malaria (Qualaquin, 324 mg capsules). Although quinine pills are occasionally available on the Internet for treatment of other conditions, such as leg cramps, you should not take any brand except the approved brand, and only for treatment of malaria as prescribed by a physician. Quinine has a long list of serious side effects; misuse of the drug can lead to development of serious complications or even death.
Taking quinine pills
1. Take two 324 mg Qualaquin capsules orally three times a day for up to seven days, if prescribed. Your doctor will prescribe a specific duration that you should take quinine. Although you may take the capsules with food or on an empty stomach, taking the drug with food reduces stomach upset.
2. Pay special attention to the list of drugs to avoid that your doctor provided to you. Quinine pills interact with a lot of drugs, causing serious side effects. According to the FDA and the clinical studies initially performed to support approval of quinine, some of the common types of drugs that quinine interacts with include certain types of antidepressants, antacids, certain types of antibiotics, cough medicines, statins, drugs that treat reflux disease or heartburn, heart rhythm medicine, antiseizure drugs, drugs that treat psychiatric disorders and antinausea medications.
3. Take the medicine for the full prescribed length of time. You will usually start to feel better within one or two days and see symptoms subside; keep taking the medicine for as long as the doctor prescribed it.
4. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any serious side effects, including rapid or fluttering heartbeat, chest pain, weak or shallow breathing, difficulty breathing or problems with vision or hearing.