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Aralen

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/25/2017
Aralen Side Effects Center

Last reviewed on RxList 02/13/2017

Aralen (chloroquine phosphate) is an antimalarial drug used to treat and to prevent malaria. It is also used to treat infections caused by amoebae. Aralen is available in generic form. Common side effects of Aralen include:

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Aralen including:

  • mental/mood changes (such as confusion, personality changes, unusual thoughts or behavior, depression),
  • hearing changes,
  • darkening of skin or tissue inside the mouth,
  • worsening of skin conditions,
  • sun sensitivity,
  • signs of serious infection (such as high fever, severe chills, persistent sore throat),
  • unusual tiredness,
  • swelling legs or ankles,
  • shortness of breath,
  • pale lips/nails/skin,
  • signs of liver disease (such as severe stomach or abdominal pain, yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine),
  • easy bruising or bleeding,
  • muscle weakness, or
  • unwanted or uncontrolled movements (including tongue and face twitching).

To suppress malaria the adult dose of Aralen is 500 mg (= 300 mg base) taken on exactly the same day of each week. Pediatric dose is based on the child's weight. Aralen may interact with cimetidine, kaolin, or magnesium trisilicate. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, Aralen should be used only when prescribed. It may harm a fetus. Traveling to an area with malaria while pregnant places a woman and her infant at much higher risk of death and other problems. Discuss the risks and benefits of malaria prevention with your doctor. This drug passes into breast milk and the effect on a nursing infant is unknown. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Our Aralen (chloroquine phosphate) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

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.

Aralen Consumer Information

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.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Aralen (Chloroquine)

Aralen Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

Special Senses

Ocular

Maculopathy and macular degeneration have been reported and may be irreversible (see WARNINGS); irreversible retinal damage in patients receiving long-term or high-dosage 4-aminoquinoline therapy; visual disturbances (blurring of vision and difficulty of focusing or accommodation); nyctalopia; scotomatous vision with field defects of paracentral, pericentral ring types, and typically temporal scotomas, e.g., difficulty in reading with words tending to disappear, seeing half an object, misty vision, and fog before the eyes. Reversible corneal opacities have also been reported.

Auditory

Nerve type deafness; tinnitus, reduced hearing in patients with preexisting auditory damage.

Musculoskeletal system

Skeletal muscle myopathy or neuromyopathy leading to progressive weakness and atrophy of proximal muscle groups, which may be associated with mild sensory changes, depression of tendon reflexes and abnormal nerve conduction, have been noted.

Gastrointestinal system

Hepatitis, increased liver enzymes, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps.

Skin and appendages

Rare reports of erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, exfoliative dermatitis and similar desquamation-type events. Pleomorphic skin eruptions, skin and mucosal pigmentary changes; lichen planus-like eruptions, pruritus, urticaria, anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reaction including angioedema; drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS syndrome); photosensitivity and hair loss and bleaching of hair pigment.

Hematologic system

Rarely, pancytopenia, aplastic anemia, reversible agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia and neutropenia.

Nervous system

Convulsive seizures, mild and transient headache, polyneuritis. Acute extrapyramidal disorders (such as dystonia, dyskinesia, tongue protrusion, torticollis) (see WARNINGS and OVERDOSAGE). Neuropsychiatric changes including psychosis, delirium, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, personality changes, and depression.

Cardiac system

Rarely, hypotension, electrocardiographic change (particularly, inversion or depression of the T-wave with widening of the QRS complex), and cardiomyopathy.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Aralen (Chloroquine)

Related Resources for Aralen

Read the Aralen User Reviews »

© Aralen Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Aralen Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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