March 21, 2017

Quinacrine tablets

What are quinacrine tablets?

QUINACRINE (Atabrine®) is an anthelmintic. It is used to treat tapeworms, giardiasis, and malaria. Generic quinacrine tablets are not yet available.

NOTE: This drug is discontinued in the United States.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • an alcohol abuse problem

  • anemia

  • dehydration

  • glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency

  • heart disease

  • history of mental illness

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • malnutrition

  • porphyria

  • psoriasis

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to quinacrine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or rpeservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take quinacrine tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Finish the full course of medicine prescribed by your prescriber or health care professional even if you feel better. Take at regular intervals. If you are taking quinacrine for worm infections remember that parasite (worm) death can be slow. To remove all parasites (worms) from the intestines can take several days.

For giardiasis or malaria:

Take the tablets with a glass of water, tea or fruit juice. You can crush the tablets and mix with applesauce, pudding, jam or honey. This will help to cover the bitter taste and is an easy way to give this medicine to children.

For malaria:

Start taking quinacrine 2 weeks before you arrive in the affected area. Continue to take the tablets for at least 3 to 4 weeks after you leave the area.

For tapeworms:

The day before your treatment eat a bland, non-fat liquid or semi-solid diet. Do not eat anything after the evening meal. Your prescriber or health care professional should also prescribe a laxative for use the night before treatment. Take quinacrine with water, tea or fruit juice, on an empty stomach. You can take it with sodium bicarbonate to reduce nausea and vomiting.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with quinacrine?

  • alcohol (this combination may make you very sick)

  • primaquine

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What should I watch for while taking quinacrine?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional to check that your infection has gone. If you have a severe infection you may need a second course of tablets.

Wash your hands, scrub your fingernails and shower often. Every day change and launder bedclothes, linens, and undergarments. This will help keep other family members from getting infected. Disinfect the toilet every day, and damp mop the floors often to reduce the number of worm eggs.

This medicine can make you dizzy; until you know how it affects you, do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness.

What side effects may I notice from taking quinacrine?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • confusion, nervousness or excitability

  • black and blue skin

  • blurred vision or visual 'halos'

  • emotional or behavioral changes

  • nightmares, trouble sleeping

  • seizures (convulsions)

  • skin rash, itching, peeling skin

  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea

  • dizziness

  • headache

  • loss of appetite

  • nausea, vomiting

  • stomach pain

  • yellow nails or urine (this will go away when you stop taking the medicine)

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


March 21, 2017


U.S. FDA-approved Package Insert