|   Find a Doctor   |   Getting to NUH   |   Appointments   |   Contact Us   |   Newsroom   |   About NUH   |   Make a Gift

Home > Events & Health Information > Diseases & Conditions > Metabolic Diseases > G6PD Deficiency

G6PD Deficiency



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


Signs & Symptoms

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.


What causes it

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%.


About the condition

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


Diagnosis and Treatment Options

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