What Is Iodoquinol?

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  • Written By: Christina Whyte
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Iodoquinol is an amebicide and antiprotozoal oral medication used to treat infections in the intestines and surrounding abdominal area. It kills single-celled organisms called amoebas and protozoa, which cause the infections ambiasis and balantidiasis, respectively. While it is an effective medication, iodoquinol may cause some side effects, and there are some precautions that need to be considered when taking it.

Dosage amounts and schedules for iodoquinol may vary, but usually patients will be told to take it three times per day after meals for 20 days. It is important to follow the instructions of the prescribing doctor and the information on the medication package. Stopping treatment early or missing doses may lead to a return of the infection, so patients should be careful to take all doses even if symptoms of illness have disappeared. Accidentally missed doses should be taken as soon as possible, but not if that would mean taking two doses very close together.


The most common side effects of treatment with iodoquinol are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain, and headache and rectal itching are less common possibilities. People who are taking this medication should not drive or engage in activities that require concentration until they know how it affects them. Fever, chills, rash, vision changes, numbness or tingling, weakness, unsteadiness, or muscle pain may indicate more serious problems, and patients experiencing these side effects should speak to a doctor. Allergic reactions are possible though rare, and people who are experiencing breathing problems, swelling, or hives should seek immediate medical attention.

It is important that the prescribing doctor knows about all medications a patient is taking, including vitamins, over the counter medication, and herbal supplements. In particular, iodoquinol may interact with thyroid medication. It can also affect the results of some medical tests, particularly thyroid function tests. Even months later, if a patient sees a doctor for any thyroid related condition he or she should ensure that this doctor knows about his or her past use of iodoquinol.

If a patient later experiences an infection that feels similar to ambiasis or balantidiasis, he or she should not use leftover iodoquinol to treat it without talking to a doctor. Similarly, it should not be given to other people who are thought to have an amoebal or protozoal infection. This medication is not suitable for all infections, and each person should see a doctor to get his or her own diagnosis and medication.


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