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Quinidine has proved more effective than quinine against chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum both in vitro and in patients with uncomplicated disease. To examine the effectiveness and pharmacokinetics of quinidine for this use, we treated 14 patients who had severe falciparum malaria with intravenous quinidine gluconate; a loading dose of 15 mg of the base per kilogram of body weight was followed by 7.5 mg per kilogram every eight hours. Two of the five patients with cerebral malaria died, but parasitemia was eliminated in the 12 survivors. Two patients had recurrent parasitemia on Days 25 and 28. Times required for parasite clearance and elimination of fever (49.4 +/- 17.8 and 69.5 +/- 18.7 hours, respectively) were comparable to those in earlier studies with a loading dose of quinine. Quinidine appears to have a larger volume of distribution than quinine. The elimination half-life was 12.8 hours, the volume of distribution was 1.68 liters per kilogram, total clearance was 1.75 ml per kilogram per minute, and urinary clearance was 0.62 ml per kilogram per minute. Electrocardiographic changes were common but there were no dysrhythmias. In two patients, blood pressure fell during the initial infusion of quinidine. Quinidine gluconate is more widely available than quinine in many countries, and our findings show that it is effective in severe falciparum malaria.

Original publication




Journal article


N Engl J Med

Publication Date





1273 - 1278


Adolescent, Adult, Drug Evaluation, Electrocardiography, Female, Hemodynamics, Humans, Injections, Intravenous, Kinetics, Malaria, Male, Middle Aged, Plasmodium falciparum, Quinidine