Send to

Choose Destination
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Jan;53(1):180-5. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01111-08. Epub 2008 Oct 27.

Chloroquine is grossly overdosed and overused but well tolerated in Guinea-bissau.

Author information

Department of Infectious Diseases, Malaria Research, Karolinska Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


High chloroquine doses are commonly prescribed in Guinea-Bissau. Double-dose chloroquine has been shown to be more efficacious (92% efficacy) than the standard dose (80% efficacy). However, chloroquine is toxic when overdosed, and it was not known if the high doses prescribed in Guinea-Bissau were taken or whether they caused adverse effects. We aimed to determine the dosage of chloroquine commonly prescribed, the doses commonly taken, and whether concentration-dependent adverse events occurred in routine practice. Chloroquine prescriptions by eight physicians and chloroquine intake by 102 children were recorded. Chloroquine intake and adverse events were assessed by questioning. Chloroquine concentrations in whole blood were measured. The median total chloroquine dose prescribed and that reportedly taken were 81 and 77 mg kg(-1), respectively. The total dose was usually split into two to three daily doses of 6.6 mg kg(-1) each. These were taken unsupervised for a median of 5 days. Forty percent of the study children had chloroquine concentrations in the same range as those found in a previous study in which double the normal dose (50 mg kg(-1)) of chloroquine was taken. Only 3/102 children had Plasmodium falciparum in the blood at the time of diagnosis and treatment. No severe adverse events were reported. No adverse events were associated with higher chloroquine concentrations. High doses of chloroquine are commonly taken and well tolerated in Guinea-Bissau. Malaria diagnostics are poor, and chloroquine is commonly prescribed to children without parasitemia. Use of high-dose chloroquine is concurrent with an exceptionally low prevalence of chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center