IN THIS ARTICLE
If you plan to travel in remote areas where malaria is present, it is very important to take preventive medicines and to follow the correct schedule for taking them. The majority of people who become infected with malaria did not take preventive malaria medicines or did not follow the correct dosing schedule.
If you are going to areas where there is no medical care available, you can get medicine before you leave and carry it with you while you travel. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to use the medicine if you should develop malaria symptoms. This is a temporary measure until you can get medical care. Seek medical care as soon as possible (ideally within 24 hours).
The most current information about the prevention and treatment of malaria is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Contact the CDC at its toll-free phone number (1-800-232-4636) or website (www.cdc.gov/malaria). The WHO website is www.who.int/malaria.
You can take medicines called antimalarials to prevent and treat malaria. Malaria is a very serious disease, and its presence in many regions of the world is well known. So if you are traveling to an area where malaria is present, it is important to consider taking medicine before you travel, while you are in the area, and after you return home to reduce the risk of infection. Which medicine you take is based on:
It is important to know which species of parasite is present, because serious complications may develop rapidly in a person who is infected with Plasmodium (P.) falciparum. Drug treatment is based on:
During malaria treatment, your doctor may do daily blood smears to follow the course of the infection. Most medicines for malaria are ones you take by mouth. But you might get intravenous (IV) medicines if there are complications or your condition gets worse. If there are no complications, your fever will clear in 36 to 48 hours. And most parasites will disappear from your blood within 2 or 3 days.
The medicines used may change as malaria parasites develop resistance and as new medicines are developed.
There are several medicines for preventing and treating malaria.
Medicines to prevent malaria
A doctor or local health department can consult the CDC for specific treatment guidelines for your travel destination. Standard medicines for preventing malaria include:
Medicines to treat infections
Medicines to treat chloroquine-resistant infections
When a malaria infection is caused by resistant strains of P. falciparum or P. vivax, treatment may be more difficult. When treatment with chloroquine does not work, you must take other medicines. These medicines may include:
You can get antimalarials intravenously (IV) if you are unable to take pills. IV delivery is also used for severe malaria. In the United States, quinidine is the medicine typically used in these situations.
Antimalarials to prevent recurrences
Some people have recurring flu-like symptoms for years after the initial malarial infection. Relapses from infection of P. vivax or P. ovale are the most common and can be prevented by taking primaquine.
What To Think About
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies