Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Quinine


Last updated on 02/08/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  




DRUG CLASS: Antimalarial agents

SUB CLASS: Alkaloids

USED FOR: Malaria, Nocturnal leg cramps


What is Quinine for?

Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Parasites will be passed into human’s blood by biting, and travel to one’s liver. Red blood cells are damaged, causing symptoms like fever, anemia and chills. Malaria is not a common disease in Hong Kong, but it is still viral around the world. Quinine can disturb the parasites’ action to hemoglobin and the subsequent formation of toxins. It is also indicated for the treatment of nocturnal leg cramps.

How to use it?

Quinine is available as oral tablets.

For falciparum malaria
600 mg every 8 hours for 5-7 days, in combination with Doxycycline or Clindamycin.
Children aged 10-12 years:
10 mg/kg every 8hours for 5-7 days. in combination with Doxycycline or Clindamycin.

For nocturnal leg cramps:
200-300 mg at bedtime.

What are the side effects of Quinine?

Common side effects of Quinine include abdominal pain, vertigo, headache, blurred vision, diarrhea, confusion, nausea, and vomiting.

Who should not take Quinine?

– People allergic to Quinine, Mefloquine, or any components of the formulation
– Patients with tinnitus, myasthenia gravis, or optic neuritis
– Patients with haemolysis or haemoglobinuria

Pharmacist Tips:

– Since it may cause vertigo and blurred vision, avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how you respond to Quinine.
– Patients with heart diseases should be closely monitored when using Quinine, as this drug may cause arrhythmia.

Common dosing schedule:
For nocturnal leg cramps, Quinine should be taken at bedtime.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Quinine may interact with:
– Anticonvulsants, e.g. Phenytoin, Carbamazepine
– Antibiotics, e.g. Clarithromycin, Erythromycin
– Antiarrhythmics, e.g. Amiodarone, Flecainide
– Statins, e.g. Atorvastatin, Lovastatin

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Quinine in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Quinine is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Quinine in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.