As early as the 17th century, Quinine was determined to be one of the first effective treatments for falciparum malaria. Quinine is available with a prescription in the United States. Quinine is also used to treat nocturnal leg cramps and arthritis. Quinine is a bitter white powder that is obtained from the bark of the cinchona tree that is found in the Andes mountain range of Ecuador and Peru and is used to make tonic water.
Quinine is used to treat malaria. Although it is often prescribed, the FDA has not approved quinine to treat nocturnal leg cramps and arthritis.^ Back To Top
Due to fatalities resulting from unapproved quinine products, as of 2007, only one drug containing quinine is FDA approved for the treatment of malaria which is manufactured by Mutual Pharmaceutical Company, Inc. (Mutual), of Philadelphia, PA. It contains quinine sulfate as the active ingredient without any additional active ingredients in 324 mg capsules and is sold under the trade name Qualaquin (quinine sulfate) with the following NDC number: 13310-153-07. At this time, there is no evidence of any shortages or limited availability of quinine. If a pharmacy has difficulty obtaining Qualaquin, they may contact Mutual at 215-697-1900.^ Back To Top
Contact your doctor if these side effects persist: stomach pain, vomiting, dizziness, headache, sweating, restlessness, confusion or apprehension.
Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following side effects while taking quinine:
The FDA has issued serious safety alerts and concerns, including fatalities, associated with drug products containing quinine. Other documented warnings for symptoms include tinnitus, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, visual changes, and auditory deficits.
There is also evidence that quinine causes serious cardiac arrhythmias including torsades de pointes. People taking quinine are at risk of developing hypersensitivity to the drug and experiencing a serious, life-threatening, or fatal reaction as a consequence. Serious adverse reactions associated with quinine use also include severe skin reactions, thrombocytopenia (a decrease in blood platelets that can cause hemorrhage or clotting problems) and other serious hematological events including permanent visual and hearing disturbances, hypoglycemia, renal failure and generalized anaphylaxis.^ Back To Top
Quinine is not recommended for use with Mefloquine (e.g., Lariam). Although Quinine has been used for the treatment of malaria in pregnant women, it has been shown to cause birth defects in rabbits and guinea pigs and has also been shown to cause rare birth defects, stillbirths, and other problems in humans. In addition, quinine has been shown to cause miscarriage when taken in large amounts.
Those suffering from the following conditions should not take Quinine: Blackwater fever, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency or Purpura, history of (purplish or brownish-red discoloration of skin), heart disease, hypoglycemia and Myasthenia gravis.^ Back To Top
Why did the FDA pull Quinine products from the market?
The FDA has gathered dangerous statistics revealing fatalities caused by quinine. From 1969 through September 11, 2006, FDA received 665 reports of adverse events with serious outcomes associated with quinine use, including, 93 deaths. The FDA discovered that many of the adverse events associated with quinine were not caused by the drug itself, but were dose-related. Also many of the adverse events were attributed to age-related issues more commonly seen in the elderly.
Tonic water contains Quinine, is it still safe to drink?
Tonic water contains less than 20 milligrams of quinine per six fluid ounces. The recommended quinine dosage for treatment of malaria is two or three 200-350 milligram tablets three times a day. Because of its small doses in tonic water, it is considered harmless and has not been recalled by the FDA.
Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered side effects from Quinine?
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a drug manufacturer of quinine. If you are considering legal action, obtain all of your medical records from your primary care physician as well as any specialists you have seen. Write a timeline as best you can with each event that lead up to taking the quinine.
Below is a starter list of questions you should try to answer. Take this information to your attorney and be as detailed as possible.
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