Anti-Malarial Tablets: The Lowdown

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As you may know, malaria is a potentially fatal disease that’s a massive problem in many parts of the world (particularly Africa, Asia and South America).

If you plan on traveling to a place where there is a danger of catching malaria, it’s important that you prepare yourself by buying some anti-malarial tablets beforehand.

There are lots of different anti-malarial drugs out there at the moment – each differing in price and possible side effects.

Here’s a rundown of the four most popular anti-malarials currently on the market:

Doxycycline

Doxycycline is THE malaria tablet for many people, as it’s the cheapest on the market and easy to come by (as many pharmacies stock it).

Doxycycline must be taken two days before you enter a malarial zone and then for a full month once you leave.

The possible side effects of Doxycycline include nausea, heart burn and a heightened level of sensitivity towards sunlight (which can be a problem in many areas). It should also be noted that Doxycycline can counteract the effects of contraceptive pills, so the two should not be taken together.

Because of the strength of Doxycycline tablets, they are best taken with a meal (in a bid to avoid any stomach/throat pain).

Malarone

Malarone tabletsMalarone is one of the newer anti-malarial drugs on the market and is currently the most expensive.

Because it’s still a fairly new drug, the side effects of it aren’t fully known yet.

As a result of this, Malarone should not be taken for more than a period of three months at a time.

The known side effects of Malarone are headaches, nausea and disturbed sleep.

Malarone should be taken two days before you enter a malarial area, and then for a full week after you leave.

Lariam

Lariam should be taken two and a half weeks before you enter a malarial zone, and for a full month after you leave.

Possible side effects of Lariam include nausea, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, hallucinations, difficulty sleeping, and can occasionally be fairly severe.

Lariam is perhaps the most well-known anti-malaria drug on the market, and because it is a strong drug these side effects have been known to last for up to a month after you’ve stopped taking it.

Avloclor

Avloclor tablets should be taken one week before you enter a malarial zone, and then for a full month once you’ve left.

Possible side effects of Avloclor tablets include nausea, rashes on the skin and a blurring of vision

Another potential problem with Avloclor tablets is that they contain Chloroquine.

Chloroquine has been used for years as a means of preventing malaria, and during that time its resistance has faded, meaning these tablets will have a limited effect in some areas.

It’s important to remember that no drug can guarantee you 100% that you won’t get malaria – they simply lower the chances. When traveling in malarial zones, it’s a good idea to be as safe as possible by using DEET bug repellent spray and by covering up. 

Last but not least, before you buy any drugs, always make sure to consult your GP/travel doctor for their advice.

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