Chloroquine: novel uses & manifestations

Indian J Med Res. 2008 Apr;127(4):305-16.


Chloroquine (CHQ) is a cheap, relatively well tolerated drug initially developed for the treatment of malaria in the 1930s. CHQ has, however, since accrued a plethora of uses in the treatment and amelioration of several other diseases and conditions because of its lysosomotropic properties. It also has characteristic physiological and systemic effects. This review gives an overview of the history and pharmacology of CHQ, and progresses to consider some of the mechanisms that may underlie its biochemical and physiological effects. Additionally, an overview of some of the novel uses of CHQ in the treatment of viral infections and cancer are presented. The antimalarial mechanisms of CHQ were not discussed in this review. The message is that CHQ, despite its welldocumented toxicity and adverse side effects may have important future uses that are associated with its lysosomotropic and immunomodulatory mechanisms. The possibility exists therefore that CHQ might be re-introduced into regular malaria treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Chloroquine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Virus Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Antimalarials
  • Chloroquine