Taking antimalarials (medicine to prevent infection with the malaria parasite) when you are visiting an area where malaria is present is very important. They should always be taken exactly as instructed by the prescriber and combined with measures to avoid bites.
There are multiple regimes of malaria tablets due to differing resistance in different parts of the world. The advice on which regimen to follow for a specific area is constantly updated and you should never assume that a tablet that you have taken before for a specific area is still appropriate unless advised by a healthcare professional.
You can buy the following malaria tablets from our Online Pharmacy: Malarone, atovaquone/proguanil (generic Malarone), mefloquine (Lariam), doxycycline, chloroquine (Avloclor), proguanil (Paludrine), and cholorquone/proguanil (Avloclor/Paludrine Travel Pack).
To help find out which malaria tablets are required for your trip, visit Fit For Travel, where you can get detailed information on the required antimalarials and vaccines for each country.
If you are unsure which malaria tablets to take during your trip due to multiple regimens being recommended, ensure you read all the product information before to ensure you understand the dose and possible side effects of each. In areas where one of either Lariam (mefloquine) or doxycycline or Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil) are recommended, you are generally least likely to experience side effects with Malarone (or generic atovaquone/proguanil). However, Malarone must be taken daily so this must also be considered as it must be taken regularly to get maximal protection against malaria.
When travelling to an area where malaria is found, it is strongly advised to take the appropriate antimalarial tablets to ward off potential infection. There are various forms and types of antimalarial medication and knowing which one is suitable will depend on these factors:
- Your destination country (and specific areas within the country)
- Medications you are currently taking and your medical history
- Any relevant family medical history
- Your age
- Whether you are pregnant
As different malaria parasites are found in different areas, choosing the right treatment is vital in providing an effective means of protection. This is because some medicines are more effective at combating certain types of parasites than others. The main types of antimalarial treatments are as follows:
Malarone (and generic Atovaquone & Proguanil)
Malarone contains atovaquone & proguanil and is available as the brand ‘Malarone’ or as a generic tablet simply called Atovaquone & Proguanil. This generic form is sometimes referred to as ‘generic Malarone’. The dose is one tablet every day, starting 2 days before entering the malaria area and continuing until 7 days after leaving. Malarone is the most expensive antimalarial tablet, however, it tends to be the best tolerated with the least side effects. Buying generic Malarone (Atovaquone & Proguanil) can help to make them more affordable.
A child’s dose may differ from that of an adult and will be dependent on age and weight. Malarone is available in a paediatric strength, making these differing doses easier to achieve. Children that require antimalarial treatment should see a doctor face-to-face. Malarone is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you suffer from severe kidney disease.
Doxycycline is a generic treatment that is taken as one capsule every day, starting 2 days prior to entering the malaria area and continuing for 4 weeks after leaving. Doxycycline is a cheaper option for antimalarial cover, however, it can cause the skin to become sensitive to sunlight meaning you will burn very quickly. For those with pale skin, this may not be suitable in more tropical climates where malaria is present. It is advisable for anyone taking doxycycline to use high-factor suncream (SPF 50+) when going out in the sun.
Doxycycline Capsules are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or for children under the age of twelve years.
Lariam tablets contain the ingredient mefloquine. The adult dose is to take one tablet weekly, starting three weeks before entering the malaria area and continuing for four weeks after leaving. Lariam tablets are not recommended if you suffer from epilepsy, seizures or mental health conditions, such as depression.
Chloroquine & Proguanil
Chloroquine (Avloclor) & Proguanil (Paludrine) can be used in combination or separately to prevent malaria, however, they aren’t as commonly used these days as they are considered ineffective against the most common form of the malarial parasite (plasmodium falciparum). However, Chloroquine and/or Proguanil will still be recommended in such areas where plasmodium falciparum is less common. These areas include India and Sri Lanka.
Many of the above antimalarial treatments can be used to treat as well as prevent malaria. If an infection has been diagnosed then rapid, appropriate treatment should ensure a full recovery. You should never try to treat malaria with your preventative treatment. Malaria is a medical emergency that requires rapid, professional treatment.