Drugs

Primaquine Phosphate

Primaquine Phosphate

Other Names: primaquine Drug Class: Opportunistic Infections and Coinfections
What is primaquine phosphate?

What is primaquine phosphate?

Primaquine phosphate is an antimalarial prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for preventing a relapse of vivax malaria—a type of malaria caused by the parasite Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax).

Malaria is an opportunistic infection (OI) of HIV. An OI is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the AIDSinfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.

How is primaquine phosphate used in people with HIV?

How is primaquine phosphate used in people with HIV?

The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents include recommendations on the HIV-related uses of primaquine phosphate.

Using a medicine as indicated on the medicine label is called on-label use; using the medicine in a different way is called off-label use. Off-label use, for example, can include using a drug for a different disease or medical condition. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used off-label.

The guidelines include recommendations on the following uses of primaquine phosphate:

On-label uses:

  • Prevent relapse of vivax malaria.
Off-label uses:
  • Treat malaria caused by the parasites P. vivax or P. ovale and treat pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP).
  • Prevent relapse of malaria caused by the parasite P. ovale.

The above list may not include all of the HIV-related uses of primaquine phosphate recommended in the guidelines. Some recommended uses, such as uses in certain rare circumstances, may have been omitted.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking primaquine phosphate?

What should I tell my health care provider before taking primaquine phosphate?

Before taking primaquine phosphate, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to primaquine phosphate or any other medicines.
  • About any medical conditions you have or have had.
  • About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take tablets.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Primaquine phosphate should not be used during pregnancy except when there are no alternative treatment options. Talk to your health care provider about possible risks with taking primaquine phosphate when pregnant. 
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Primaquine phosphate may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how primaquine phosphate works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between primaquine phosphate and the other medicines you take.

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.

How should I take primaquine phosphate?

How should I take primaquine phosphate?

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.

How should primaquine phosphate be stored?

How should primaquine phosphate be stored?

  • Store primaquine phosphate tablets between 59°F and 86°F (15°C to 20°C).
  • Store primaquine phosphate in a tight, light-resistant container.
  • Do not use primaquine phosphate if the original seal over the bottle opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away primaquine phosphate that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep primaquine phosphate and all medicines out of reach of children.

Where can I find more information about primaquine phosphate?

Where can I find more information about primaquine phosphate?

More information about primaquine phosphate is available:

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet (film coated).

Last Reviewed: July 20, 2018