Wondering Why?

Why was quinine taken off the market?

Why was quinine taken off the market?

Quinine is a synthetic drug derived from quinidine. Quinine is naturally sourced out from the bark of the cinchona tree and is utilized in the lab to produce a quinine drug. As early as the 17th century, quinine was found to be the only drug that is effective in treating the disease of Malaria which has a causative agent of Plasmodium falciparum. For many years, quinine remained to be the drug of choice for treating certain diseases including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and arthritis. However, a prescription is needed for this to be available at hand although small quantities may be obtained. This drug is highly sensitive to light therefore, proper storage must be observed.

Quinine has known properties of anti-pyretic, anti-malarial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory, of which are evidently effective in treating certain diseases. However, a drug never comes without any untoward effects. Quinine was found to have serious adverse effects when taken without caution. Quinine can cause disease interactions such as causing abnormal heart rhythms, bleeding, and can worsen conditions such as myasthenia gravis and optic neuritis. Also, studies have shown that uncontrolled use of quinine can cause hearing impairments.

Today, quinine has become one of the off-label drugs as approved by the Food and Drug Administration, commonly known as FDA. The reason for FDA to take it off from the market is that many people opt to take quinine in treating their nocturnal leg cramps. Although a few years back, the use of quinine was approved, further research and studies claimed that the risks in taking quinine for leg cramps outweighed the benefits. However, many people still use quinine as treatment and prevention of leg cramps despite FDA’s efforts of cautioning that the use of this drug can cause severe undesired effects.


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