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What is Chloroquine Proguanil?

By M. Haskins
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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Chloroquine proguanil medication is used to prevent and treat malaria. This type of malaria medication consists of two different drugs, one called chloroquine phosphate and one called proguanil hydrochloride, that are taken as two separate tablets but are packaged together. The two drugs are taken in combination to be more effective against malaria and as a form of malaria treatment, by inhibiting the reproduction of the parasites responsible for causing malaria. Both these drugs can have serious side effects, especially when taken together, including itching, skin rash, stomach pain, bloody stool, and hair loss. In some countries, chloroquine proguanil medication requires a prescription, and in other places it is available without a prescription, but it is recommended to consult a doctor before taking any malaria medication.

Malaria is an infectious, potentially fatal disease caused by parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium that can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. There are many different types of Plasmodium parasites, and some have become resistant to certain malaria medications. This drug resistance has made chloroquine proguanil medications less effective at preventing malaria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States no longer recommends using chloroquine proguanil as an anti-malaria treatment. Instead, the CDC now recommends other, more effective malaria medications including mefloquine and doxycycline, or atovaquone combined with proguanil.

Some people are not able to take the more effective anti-malaria drugs and must still rely on chloroquine proguanil medications. To get maximum disease protection from chloroquine proguanil medication, one must start taking it one week before traveling to an area where there is a risk of contracting malaria. One must continue taking the medication during the time there, and for four weeks after leaving the area. It is still important to protect oneself from mosquito bites to reduce the chance of contracting malaria, even while taking chloroquine proguanil medications. Using insect repellent, dressing in long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and sleeping under a mosquito net can be helpful.

This medication comes in the form of tablets. The chloroquine tablets are commonly taken once a week, while the proguanil tablets are taken once a day. It is recommended to take this medication on a full stomach to reduce the chance of stomach upset. Known side effects of chloroquine proguanil medication include nausea, mouth ulcers, and vision problems. Anxiety, mood swings, and personality changes have also been reported as possible side effects.

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