Disposition of Chloroquine in Man After Single Intravenous and Oral Doses

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1983 Apr;15(4):471-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.1983.tb01532.x.


1 Chloroquine was given in 300 mg single doses as an i.v. infusion, an oral solution and as tablets at intervals of at least 56 days to 11 healthy volunteers. Concentrations of chloroquine and its metabolite desethylchloroquine were measured in plasma, erythrocytes and urine using h.p.l.c. 2 Chloroquine was detectable in all plasma samples up to 23 days and occasionally up to 52 days after dosage. Urinary concentrations were monitored up to 119 days. The disposition pattern was multiexponential reflecting extensive tissue binding of the drug. 3 After i.v. dosing the volume of distribution ranged from 116 to 285 l/kg and the apparent terminal half-life from 146 to 333 h. Total plasma clearance +/- s.d. was 712 +/- 166 ml/min and renal clearance 412 +/- 139 ml/min. The mean estimated urinary recovery of chloroquine was 47%, 42% and 46% after i.v., oral solution and tablets indicating nearly complete bioavailability. The corresponding figures for the metabolite were 7%, 10% and 12%. 4 The disposition of chloroquine in erythrocytes was parallel to that in plasma. The concentrations in erythrocytes were consistently 2 to 5 times higher than in plasma. 5 Subjective side effects like difficulties with swallowing and accommodation, diplopia and fatigue occurred during intravenous infusion and were closely related to plasma concentrations. No effect was seen on the electrocardiogram, mean arterial blood pressure and pulse rate. No adverse reactions were observed after the oral doses. High frequency audiometry did not reveal any significant hearing impairment for the group as a whole.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Audiometry
  • Chloroquine / administration & dosage
  • Chloroquine / analogs & derivatives
  • Chloroquine / blood
  • Chloroquine / metabolism*
  • Chloroquine / urine
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Deglutition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Erythrocytes / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Tablets
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Tablets
  • desethylchloroquine
  • Chloroquine