Report on Quinine Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Quinine. These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Pregnancy

Warning 2 – Acetazolamide: May lead to toxicity when used with acetazolamide. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 3 – Aluminum salts: May cause a decrease in the absorption of quinine.

Warning 4 – Anticoagulants: May increase bleeding when used concurrently with anticoagulants. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 5 – Cardiac glycosides: Quinine may increase the action of cardiac glycosides. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 6 – Magnesium: May cause a decrease in the absorption of quinine.

Warning 7 – Neuromuscular blockers: Quinine may increase the action of neuromuscular blockers. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 8 – Sodium bicarbonate: Used with quinine may lead to toxicity. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 9 – Drug tests: Those who are subject to urine drug screens should be aware that quinine can cause a positive result for opiates.

Used as a natural health remedy: Quinine is the main ingredient in Tonic water. It is used internally for the following benefits:

  • anti-inflammatory (See other herbs for inflammation)
  • anti-malarial drug
  • arthritis relief
  • headache relief
  • muscle relaxant
  • normalize heart functions
  • prevent hair loss
  • reduce heart palpitations
  • reduces shivering, even from cold weather
  • relief from lower back pain
  • relief from nocturnal leg cramps
  • stimulate digestion and appetite
  • for its astringent, bactericidal, and anesthetic actions

Side Effects of Quinine

The most common side effects are

  1. dizziness
  2. flushing
  3. headache
  4. nausea
  5. sweating

A rare SEVERE reaction is also possible with the use of quinine. Seek medical attention right away if any of the following symptoms occur while using Quinine:

  • allergic reactions symptoms include rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, unusual hoarseness
  • back pain
  • black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • bleeding, unusual
  • blindness or other unusual vision changes
  • blurred vision
  • bruising, unusual
  • changes in how you see color
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • cold sweat
  • confusion
  • dark or bloody urine
  • decreased amount of urine or trouble urinating
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness, severe
  • double vision
  • fainting
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • flushing
  • hearing loss
  • light sensitivity
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of appetite
  • low blood sugar symptoms (anxiety, dizziness, fast heartbeat, headache, tremors, unusual sweating)
  • mood or mental problems
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • nosebleed, severe
  • pale skin
  • personality changes
  • purple, brown, or red spots on your skin
  • red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
  • ringing in the ears
  • seizures
  • sore throat
  • speech problems
  • stomach pain
  • tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Quinine may also have other side effects not listed. (See form below) If you are taking any prescription medication, check with your doctor before using quinine.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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