Primaquine (PQ) remains the sole available drug to prevent relapse of Plasmodium vivax malaria more than 60 years after licensure. While this drug was administered as a racemic mixture, prior studies suggested a pharmacodynamic advantage based on differential antirelapse activity and/or toxicities of its enantiomers. Oral primaquine enantiomers prepared using a novel, easily scalable method were given for 7 days to healthy rhesus macaques in a dose-rising fashion to evaluate their effects on the blood, liver, and kidneys. The enantiomers were then administered to Plasmodium cynomolgi-infected rhesus macaques at doses of 1.3 and 0.6 mg/kg of body weight/day in combination with chloroquine. The (-)-PQ enantiomer had higher clearance and apparent volume of distribution than did (+)-PQ and was more extensively converted to the carboxy metabolite. There is evidence for differential oxidative stress with a concentration-dependent rise in methemoglobin (MetHgb) with increasing doses of (+)-PQ greater than that seen for (-)-PQ. There was a marked, reversible hepatotoxicity in 2 of 3 animals dosed with (-)-PQ at 4.5 mg/ kg. (-)-PQ in combination with chloroquine was successful in preventing P. cynomolgi disease relapse at doses of 0.6 and 1.3 mg/kg/day, while 1 of 2 animals receiving (+)-PQ at 0.6 mg/kg/day relapsed. While (-)-PQ was also associated with hepatotoxicity at higher doses as seen previously, this has not been identified as a clinical concern in humans during >60 years of use. Limited evidence for increased MetHgb generation with the (+) form in the rhesus macaque model suggests that it may be possible to improve the therapeutic window for hematologic toxicity in the clinic by separating primaquine into its enantiomers.