Aralen Phosphate

Name: Aralen Phosphate

How should I take Aralen Phosphate (chloroquine)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Chloroquine is sometimes given only once per week. Choose the same day each week to take this medication if you are on a weekly dosing schedule.

To prevent malaria: Start taking the medicine 2 weeks before entering an area where malaria is common. Continue taking the medicine regularly during your stay and for at least 8 weeks after you leave the area.

Take chloroquine for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. If you are taking this medicine to treat malaria, your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated.

Use chloroquine regularly to best prevent malaria. If you stop using the medication early for any reason, talk to your doctor about other forms of malaria prevention.

In addition to taking chloroquine, use protective clothing, insect repellents, and mosquito netting around your bed to further prevent mosquito bites that could cause malaria.

If you use this medication long-term, your blood will need to be tested often. You may also need eye exams, and your doctor may need to check your knee and ankle reflexes. Visit your doctor regularly.

No medication is 100% effective in treating or preventing malaria. For best results, keep using the medication as directed.

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you have been exposed to malaria, or if you have fever or other symptoms of illness during or after a stay in an area where malaria is common.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

Aralen Phosphate (chloroquine) side effects

Some people taking this medication over long periods of time or at high doses have developed irreversible damage to the retina of the eye. Stop taking chloroquine and call your doctor at once if you have trouble focusing, if you see light streaks or flashes in your vision, or if you notice any swelling or color changes in your eyes.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using chloroquine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • vision problems, trouble reading or seeing objects, hazy vision;

  • hearing loss or ringing in the ears;

  • seizure (convulsions);

  • severe muscle weakness, loss of coordination, underactive reflexes;

  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take chloroquine and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps;

  • temporary hair loss, changes in hair color; or

  • mild muscle weakness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Aralen Phosphate (chloroquine)?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • cimetidine (Tagamet);

  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);

  • mefloquine (Lariam);

  • an antibiotic, antifungal medicine, sulfa drug, or tuberculosis medicine;

  • birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;

  • blood pressure medication;

  • cancer medication;

  • cholesterol-lowering medications such as Lipitor, Niaspan, Zocor, Vytorin, and others;

  • gout or arthritis medications (including gold injections);

  • HIV/AIDS medications;

  • medicines to treat psychiatric disorders;

  • an NSAID such as Advil, Aleve, Arthrotec, Cataflam, Celebrex, Indocin, Motrin, Naprosyn, Treximet, Voltaren, and others; or

  • seizure medications.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with chloroquine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Proper Use of Aralen Phosphate

Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of serious side effects.

For patients taking chloroquine to prevent malaria:

  • Your doctor will want you to start taking this medicine 1 to 2 weeks before you travel to an area where there is a chance of getting malaria. This will help you to see how you react to the medicine. Also, it will allow time for your doctor to change to another medicine if you have a reaction to this medicine.
  • Also, you should keep taking this medicine while you are in the area and for 4 weeks after you leave the area. No medicine will protect you completely from malaria. However, to protect you as completely as possible, it is important to keep taking this medicine for the full time your doctor ordered. Also, if fever develops during your travels or within 2 months after you leave the area, check with your doctor immediately.

If you are taking this medicine to help keep you from getting malaria, keep taking it for the full time of treatment. If you already have malaria, you should still keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment even if you begin to feel better after a few days. This will help clear up your infection completely. If you stop taking this medicine too soon, your symptoms may return.

Chloroquine works best when you take it on a regular schedule. For example, if you are taking it once a week to prevent malaria, it is best to take it on the same day of each week. Make sure that you do not miss any doses. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

If you are also taking kaolin or antacids, take them at least 4 hours before or after using chloroquine. If you are also taking ampicillin, take it at least 2 hours before or after using this medicine.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For prevention of malaria:
      • Adults—500 milligrams (mg) once a week on the same day of each week starting 2 weeks before traveling to an area where malaria occurs, and continued for 8 weeks after leaving the area.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually 5 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight once per week on the same day each week starting 2 weeks before traveling to an area where malaria occurs, and continued for 8 weeks after leaving the area.
    • For treatment of malaria:
      • Adults—At first, 1000 milligrams (mg) once a day. Then, 500 mg 6 to 8 hours after the first dose, and 500 mg on the second and third days of treatment.
      • Adults with low body weight and children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. At first, 10 milligram (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight. Then, 5 mg per kg of body weight taken 6 hours, 24 hours, and 36 hours after the first dose.
    • For treatment of liver infection caused by protozoa:
      • Adults—1000 milligrams (mg) once a day, taken for 2 days. This is followed by 500 mg once a day for at least 2 to 3 weeks.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

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