Loading Dose of Quinine in African Children With Cerebral Malaria

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The majority of deaths from cerebral malaria occur within 48 h after admission to hospital. Because of the possibility of inadequate treatment within this period, the use of a loading dose of quinine has been proposed. We reviewed clinical and laboratory data for 113 children with cerebral malaria, who were treated with intravenous quinine, 10 mg/kg every 8 h, at Macha Mission Hospital in rural Zambia. In 1990-1991, 39 children were not given a loading dose of quinine while, in 1992-1993, 74 children received a loading dose of 20 mg/kg. Elevated serum iron levels, as reflected in transferrin saturation, were strongly associated with higher mortality. A loading dose of quinine was associated with faster recovery from coma and enhanced clearance of parasitaemia and fever. The loading dose was also associated with trends to lower mortality and higher haemoglobin levels, but these differences were not statistically significant.


Van Der Torn, M., Thuma, P. E., Mabeza, G. F., Biemba, G., Moyo, V. M., Mclaren, C. E., Brittenham, G. M., & Gordeuk, V. R. (1998). Loading dose of quinine in African children with cerebral malaria. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 92(3), 325–331. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0035-9203(98)91032-X

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