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:
The country or areas in which you will be
Browse this alphabetical list of the most commonly known biological and chemical agents. Click on each one to get more information. And see category definitions below.
The species of parasite. If you are infected
with P. falciparum,
life-threatening complications can develop rapidly.
Infection caused by one of the other three species of malaria is rarely
The density of parasites. If the percentage of
red blood cells infected (parasite density) is over 5%, treatment may include
medicines given directly into a vein (intravenously, or IV) rather than
medicine taken by mouth.
Your health condition. You are at higher
risk for having complications if you are pregnant, elderly, very young, or
have a weak immune system. Different medicines may be prescribed for people in
Drug resistance in the geographic area where the
infection occurred. For instance, in many areas P. falciparum is resistant to the drug chloroquine.
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.
Mefloquine. You can take mefloquine to prevent malaria infections unless the malaria parasite in the area you're visiting is resistant to mefloquine. Do not take mefloquine if you
have a history of active or recent
depression or other mental illness, seizures, or some types of heart-rhythm problems.
Doxycycline. You can take doxycycline
if you cannot take mefloquine. Women who are
pregnant and children younger than age 9 should not take this
Malarone. Malarone is a combination of two
antimalarial medicines (atovaquone and proguanil). Malarone is taken to prevent
malaria caused by P. falciparum.
Medicines to treat infections
Chloroquine is the most effective medicine for
treating a malaria infection caused by P. ovale or
P. malariae parasites. To prevent relapses of infections
caused by these two parasites, continue taking chloroquine after you leave the
area where these parasites are present. Chloroquine is also used
to treat P. falciparum and P. vivax infections in areas where resistance to chloroquine has
not been confirmed.
Coartem is a combination of the two
medicines artemether and lumefantrine. It is used to treat malaria caused by
Medicines to treat chloroquine-resistant infections