Health Resources

G6PD Deficiency


Screening for G6PD deficiency is routinely conducted for all newborns by analysing the baby's umbilical cord blood.

Signs & Symptoms

Some newborns with G6PD deficiency may be more prone to develop jaundice in the first week of life. Before routine screening was implemented in Singapore, some affected newborns experienced severe jaundice, which led to brain injury.

What causes it

G6PD deficiency stems from a lack of normal enzyme in red blood cells. This enzyme deficit causes the red blood cells to break down more easily, leading to jaundice and anaemia. It is an inherited, lifelong condition, more commonly affecting males than females, with a higher prevalence in the Chinese population (about 5%).

About the condition

Individuals with G6PD deficiency lead a normal life by avoiding certain foods, drugs and environmental chemicals.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

If your child is diagnosed with G6PD deficiency, our neonatal team will provide counselling and a detailed handout about how the inheritance of this condition and necessary precautions for your baby.

Your baby will be monitored in the hospital for at least 72 hours post-birth for jaundice observation and potential treatment. After discharge, regular newborn care should be continued, but always consult your doctor or pharmacist about administering any medication. Caution is advised with herbal supplements and alternative therapies.

Items to avoid for life  

Those with G6PD deficiency, including breastfeeding mothers, should avoid the following:


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


  • Chloroquine 
  • Hydroxychloroquine 
  • Primaquine 
  • Quinine
  • Mepacrine


  • Moth Balls (naphthalene) 
  • Methylene blue


  • Fava beans (also known as broad beans)
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