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Primaquine is used to treat and prevent repeated occurrence of symptoms of malaria.

How it works

Primaquine belongs to class of medicines called quinolone antimalarials. It works by killing the infection causing malarial parasite called Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium falciparum.

Common side effects

Abdominal pain, Epigastric pain, Gastrointestinal discomfort, Vomiting, Nausea, Heartburn


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Expert advice

  • You may undergo blood examinations particularly blood counts, hemoglobin determination during your treatment with primaquine.
  • Inform your doctor if you are suffering from any of the following: heart disease, low potassium in the blood (hypokalemia) and/or low magnesium in the blood (hypomagnesemia).
  • Do not take the given dose of primaquine for >14 days.
  • Do not take along with drugs which are known to cause disordered electrical activity of heart (QT prolongation).
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is primaquine a sulfa drug/does primaquine contain sulfa?
No. Primaquine is neither a sulfa drug nor contain sulfa.
Q. Is primaquine safe?
Primaquine is safe if used at prescribed dose and duration as advised by your doctor.
Q. Is primaquine a prodrug?
Derivatives of primaquine are available in prodrug form, after metabolism primaquine gets converted into carboxyprimaquine.
Q. What is primaquine phosphate used for/ what does primaquine treat?
Primaquine is used to treat and prevent repeated occurrence of symptoms of malaria. 
Q. Why is primaquine given with clindamycin?
Primaquine and clindamycin are given together for the treatment of Pneumocystis pneumonia.
Q. Why is primaquine given in falciparum malaria?
Primaquine is active against primary erythrocytic stage of malarial parasite called Plasmodium falciparum, so it is given in falciparum malaria.
Q. Does primaquine treat chlamydia?
No. Primaquine is specifically used in the treatment of malaria and Pneumocystis pneumonia. Please follow your doctor’s advice regarding its use.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)