Safety Alerts & Recalls

What does this mean?

It is well known that quinine can affect the affect the electrical activity of the heart. Following a recent European review, the product information leaflets have been updated to advise of these recognised dangers and to note potential interactions with other medicines. If you have any questions or concerns about the contents of this alert, or your treatment with Quinine, then please discuss them with your pharmacist or doctor.

Healthcare Professionals Advised of Dose-Dependent QT-Prolonging Effects of Quinine and Updated Medicine Interactions

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has written to healthcare professionals regarding quinine. This communication advises of the dose-dependent QT-interval-prolonging effects of taking quinine and is a reminder that it should be used with caution in patients with risk factors for QT prolongation or with atrioventricular block (heart block).

Quinine is well known to affect the electrical activity of the heart (known as the prolongation of the QT interval) which can subsequently increase the risk of abnormal heart beats (also called arrhythmias). A routine EU review in 2017 recommended that warnings for dose-dependent QT-prolonging effects should be present in the product information for all medicines containing medicines.

Healthcare professionals have been advised to use caution if prescribing quinine medicines in patients with conditions that predispose to QT prolongation, such as pre-existing cardiac disease or electrolyte disturbances, or in patients taking other medicines that prolong the QT interval. A full list of these medicines can be found in the product literature.

In addition, healthcare professionals have been advised to monitor patients closely if administration of quinine with phenobarbital or carbamazepine is necessary; serum levels of these anticonvulsant medicines could become raised and cause anticonvulsant toxicity.

Quinine is given to treat malaria but is more commonly prescribed to help relieve nocturnal leg cramps.

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Source: MHRA
Publication Date: 2017-12-08
Last Updated: 2017-12-09

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