Primaquine phosphate is an antimalarial prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of a relapse of vivax malaria—a type of malaria caused by the parasite Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax). Malaria is an opportunistic infection. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems.
Primaquine phosphate can also be used “off-label” to treat other opportunistic infections of HIV infection. “Off-label” use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used “off-label.”
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of primaquine phosphate to:
Before taking primaquine phosphate, tell your health care provider:
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from primaquine phosphate. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
Take primaquine phosphate according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much primaquine phosphate to take and when to take it. Before you start primaquine phosphate and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
More information about primaquine phosphate is available:
Last Reviewed: May 7, 2013
Last Updated: May 7, 2013