Chloroquine induced pruritus - questionnaire based epidemiological study

  • Adekunle O George Dermatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria


Chloroquine (CQ) is a very useful drug with a broad spectrum of uses (as anti malarial, anti amoebiasis and for connective tissue diseases). A major side effect preventing or limiting its utilization in blacks is chloroquine induced pruritus (CP). A descriptive cross sectional questionnaire based epidemiological study of medical and nursing students, medical doctors and other workers with historic CP in a Nigerian tertiary (teaching) hospital was carried out to determine factors and features related to the development of CP. From the study the intensity of CP was not reduced by taking less CQ. About 92% of the subjects had close relations who suffered from CP. 84.5% of responders itched for 1-3 days. The longest duration for CP was 7 days. The sites of itching in descending order were generalized (49.2%) hands (46%), legs and feet (46%), perineum/genitalia (28.5%). Relieving factor/drug was identified in 66.6% of responders. Itching with oral CQ occurred in 100%. Intramuscular injection of CQ caused 49% of itching. 19% had pre-chloroquine itch. 28.5% had CP with other antimalarials notably Amodiaquine (23.8%). 50.7% took other antimalarials when down with malaria. There is a need for the identification of a cheap and readily available antidote for CP to enable CQ remain useful/relevant in Nigeria and in the West African sub-region.

African Journal of Health Sciences Vol. 11(3-4) 2004: 87-92

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