Patient Care

G6PD Deficiency (Children)

What is G6PD Deficiency?

G6PD deficiency is due to a lack of normal enzyme found in the red blood cells. Due to the lack of this enzyme, the red blood cells can break down more easily and cause jaundice (yellow appearance of skin) and anaemia (lack of red blood cells).

G6PD deficiency is an inherited and lifelong condition. It affects males more than females, and is more common in Chinese about 5%.

Most people with G6PD deficiency have a completely normal life as long as they avoid certain foods and drugs and environmental chemicals.

What are the signs & symptoms of G6PD Deficiency?

Some newborns with G6PD deficiency may develop jaundice more easily during the first week of life. Decades ago in Singapore, before screening of G6PD deficiency was done routinely, some affected newborns developed high levels of jaundice which caused brain injury.

How is G6PD Deficiency diagnosed?

Screening for G6PD deficiency is done for all newborns by testing the baby's umbilical cord blood.

What are the treatment options for G6PD Deficiency?

If your child is diagnosed with G6PD deficiency, you will be counseled by our neonatal doctor and given a written handout for more details about how this condition is inherited and the precautions you will need to take for your baby.

Your baby will need to remain in hospital for at least 72 hours after birth for monitoring and possibly treatment of jaundice. After hospital discharge, take care of your newborn as usual.

However, always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication. Be careful about using herbal supplements or alternative therapies.

In particular, the items below must be avoided life long.

Mothers who are breastfeeding must also avoid the food and drugs on this list.


  • Sulphonamides
  • Co-trimoxazole (Septrin)
  • Dapsone
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Nalidixic acid


  • Chloroquine
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Primaquine
  • Quinine
  • Mepacrine


  • Moth Balls (naphthalene)
  • Methylene blue


  • Fava beans - also called broad beans
Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

You can search by -
  • Condition name 'G6PD Deficiency' AND
  • Institution
1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block, Singapore 119228
Last updated on
Best viewed with Chrome 79.0, Edge 112.0, Firefox 61.0, Safari 11
National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
Back to Top