Psychiatric adverse effects of chloroquine
Anna Bogaczewicz, Tomasz Sobów
Chloroquine is a prototype antimalarial drug, widely used in several branches of medicine. Antimalarial drugs are used in the treatment of various dermatological, immunological, rheumatological and infectious diseases. Examples of off-labelled indications for chloroquine analogues use include dermatomyositis, sarcoidosis, polymorphous light eruption, disseminated granuloma annulare and porfiria cutanea tarda. There is a relatively small number of adverse effects related to chloroquine analogues used in standard doses, such as gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches, skin reactions, hypotension, convulsions, extrapyramidal symptoms and visual disturbances. Psychiatric side effects of chloroquine seem to be rare, but may manifest in a wide range of symptoms, such as confusion, disorientation, ideas of persecution, agitation, outbursts of violence, loss of interest, feeling sad, suicidal ideas and impaired insight. There is also a report of a manic episode with psychotic features in the course of bipolar disorder, and another case report of persecutory delusions, anxiety, derealisation and visual illusions triggered by chloroquine. The duration of psychiatric symptoms usually ranges from one to two weeks, and symptoms usually disappear within several days following cessation of chloroquine usage and starting psychiatric treatment where indicated. This article reviews the case studies of patients diagnosed with mental disorders resulting from the use of chloroquine, and discusses the management in such cases.