How do I Choose the Best Anti-Malaria Tablets?

A. Rohlandt

The following factors typically influence the choice of anti-malaria tablets: the area you intend to visit, the intended length of your stay, and your medical history. None of the anti-malaria tablets are 100% effective, but they can reduce your chances of infection, with an 80% to 98% success rate. Malarone® is believed to be the most effective, and reduces chances of infection by 98%. This anti-malaria drug is effective in all areas, even where chloroquine resistance has been reported. Quinine, also known as Quinamm®, is an anti-malaria agent that normally is used in conjunction with other anti-malaria tablets to prevent or treat malaria, but it is important to remember that quinine is not effective against all types of the malaria parasite.

Malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites.
Malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites.

When traveling, it is important to remember that not all anti-malaria tablets are effective in all areas; your choice of malaria drug should be influenced by the geographical region to which you're traveling and what kind of malaria is prevalent in that area. The length of your stay also should be considered when it comes to choosing the best suited anti-malaria tablets. All anti-malaria tablets have to be started before entering the malaria-prone area, and it is important to plan accordingly since some of these medications have to be started up to three weeks before you start traveling. It is also recommended that you continue to take the anti-malaria tablets for four weeks after leaving the area.

Choosing the best anti-malaria tablets depends on the country that you intend to visit.
Choosing the best anti-malaria tablets depends on the country that you intend to visit.

Your medical history should also play an important part in your choice of an anti-malaria tablet. Some medicines interact with malaria drugs, so it is important to consult your doctor if you have any existing medical conditions or if you are using prescription medication. Taking the recommended dosage at the same time each day is equally important in ensuring your chosen anti-malaria tablet provides optimum protection.

There are a few practical ways, called personal protection measures, to minimize your chances of being infected with malaria. Personal protection measures focus on preventing mosquito bites and can often be your first line of defense against malaria. The most important personal protection measures are to use a good insect repellent, preferably one containing deet, and avoiding being outdoors at night since this is when mosquitoes are most likely to bite. Sleeping under a mosquito net and spraying the sleeping area with a suitable insecticide can further minimize your chances of being bitten. Protection measures can be used in conjunction with your chosen anti-malaria drug to provide all-around protection.

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Discussion Comments


@ZipLine-- I'm no a doctor so I'm not sure. I think the only antibiotics used for malaria are tetracycline antibiotics like doxycycline. Sometimes they are given with other anti-malarial drugs and sometimes alone to treat symptoms of malaria.

Most anti-malaria medications fight protozoa which is what causes malaria. I think they do this by preventing parasites from surviving in the blood but different medications may work in different ways.

I don't think that antibiotics are the first choice for malaria treatment, the first choice is anti-malarial medications.


I don't understand why antibiotics are used to treat malaria. Isn't malaria a parasitic disease? How do antibiotics work for it?


Quinine was effective against all types of malaria before, but resistance developed in some strains. At one point, it was the first choice for malaria treatment and worked very well. After resistance was documented, I believe new alternatives were developed like mefloquine. But that didn't work out well because of the side effects. Mefloquine causes odd psychotic side effects in some people like hallucinations.

I agree with the article that the best malaria medication as of 2012 is Malarone, the combination of atovaquone and proguanil. It's more expensive compared to some other medications but it works and has few side effects. I used it when I traveled to Southeast Asia.

Of course, the risk of resistance exists with all malaria medications. So I'm sure that drug manufacturers will have to come up with more alternative medications in the future.

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