We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Most Common Chloroquine Side Effects?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Chloroquine is a prescription medication designed to prevent malaria infection and treat existing cases. It has proven to be a very effective as an antimalarial, but the risk of side effects is relatively high compared with similar medications. A patient may experience chloroquine side effects such as nausea, cramping, and vomiting within a few hours of starting a course of the drug. Severe side effects that may involve vision loss, airway constriction, and fainting are less common but could become life threatening without prompt medical care.

Doctors are not entirely sure how chloroquine works in the body, which makes it difficult to predict the likelihood and type of side effects that may occur. The most common chloroquine side effects reported by patients taking the drug to prevent malaria include stomach upset, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Some people experience headaches, dizzy spells and sleeping difficulties. Mildly itchy skin rashes that resemble psoriasis may also develop.

When chloroquine is taken to treat an active malaria infection, a patient might experience gastrointestinal side effects. In addition, vision changes are fairly common chloroquine side effects when it used as an active treatment agent. A person may have progressively dimming sight or see spontaneous flashes of bright yellow and red. The eyes can become very sensitive to sunlight and have trouble focusing on nearby objects. Rarely, total vision loss occurs that may or may not be reversible. Vision problems may be accompanied with hearing loss, vertigo, and facial spasms.

Allergic reactions to chloroquine are rare, but complications can be serious. Within hours and sometimes minutes of taking a dose, an allergic person can experience a widespread skin rash that causes painful, burning, itchy hives to erupt. The airways can become constricted to the point that breathing and swallowing become very difficult. If the brain is affected, confusion, muscle spasms, and seizures can occur.

A patient who experiences mild chloroquine side effects should keep taking the medication as directed and schedule an appointment with his or her doctor. A physician can perform a series of blood and imaging tests to check for possible kidney or liver damage, and then consider treatment options. In most cases, a patient can simply stop taking the drug and start a course of similar malaria medication to end the uncomfortable chloroquine side effects. Emergency room treatment should be sought in the case of an overdose, allergic reaction, or severe vision changes so doctors can provide intravenous fluids and anti-inflammatory drugs. Diuretics such as ammonium chloride may be given to help cleanse the body of chloroquine.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon153940 — On Feb 18, 2011

After I took the first chloroquine dose, my blood pressure started to jump around -- much higher than normal. Also some unexpected mild pressure in upper chest. Has anyone else experienced this?

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.