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Quinine is used in the treatment of malaria and cerebral malaria.

How it works

Quinine is a weak base that reaches high concentration within the malarial parasite and causes accumulation of toxic heme pigment, which kills it.

Common side effects

Nausea, Abdominal pain, Blurred vision, Changes in color vision, Dizziness, Face redness, Headache, Altered heart rate, Increased sweating, Ringing in ear, Vertigo, Vomiting

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Expert advice

  • Take this medication with meals to minimize chances of stomach upset.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any heart problems related to irregular rhythm of heartbeats or any liver or kidney disorder.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you experience unexplained bleeding or bruising as quinine may decrease platelet count in blood (thrombocytopenia).
  • You should regularly check the blood glucose levels during the treatment with quinine.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take if allergic to quinine or any of its ingredients or mefloquine or quinidine.
  • Avoid if Patients have prolonged QT interval (disordered electrical activity of heart leading to heart disorders).
  • Avoid if Patients is suffering from glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (a hereditary disorder affecting red blood cells).
  • Do not take if suffering from myasthenia gravis (a rare disorder characterized by severe muscle weakness).
  • Avoid if Patients has optic neuritis (inflammation of the eye nerve causing visual disorders).
  • Do not take if Patients have history of blackwater fever (a complication of malaria), thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (a rare blood disorder) or thrombocytopenia (abnormally low number of platelets in blood).
  • Avoid if Patients is suffering from tinnitus (ringing in ears) or hematuria (blood in the urine).

Frequently asked questions



Is quinine good for leg cramps/ cramps/ stop leg cramps/ help leg cramps?
Yes. Quinine is used in certain cases to prevent and treat night leg cramps which regularly disrupt sleep


Does quinine help with restless leg syndrome?
No. Quinine is not indicated for use in neurological conditions like restless leg syndrome. It is used in certain cases to prevent and treat night leg cramps


Is quinine an alkaloid/ a stimulant/ a diuretic?
Quinine is an alkaloid obtained from bark of the cinchona tree. It is not a stimulant (i.e. does not stimulate the brain or any mental functions) or a diuretic (does not increase urine output)

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Can you take quinine with warfarin?
Taking warfarin with quinine may increase risk of unexplained bleeding or bruising as quinine may decrease platelet count in blood (thrombocytopenia). Please inform your doctor about all medications you are taking currently before starting quinine treatment


Does quinine prevent malaria?
No. Quinine does not prevent malaria. It is used for the treatment of malaria (caused by parasite Plasmodium falciparum) which is resistant to multiple drugs including chloroquine.

Content on this page was last updated on 14 February, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)