General medicine: Unapproved use of quinine sulfate gets FDA warning

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that off-label use of the malaria drug quinine sulfate to treat night time leg cramps causes serious side effects.

FDA scientists reviewed reports submitted to the Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) between April 2005 and October 1, 2008. They found 38 cases within the US of serious side effects associated with the use of quinine.

They reported that off-label quinine use resulted in serious and life-threatening reactions in 24 cases, including thrombocytopenia and haemolytic uremic syndrome/thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.

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