Skip Navigation

Anti Malarial side effects - How long before they show?

Travel Forums General Talk Anti Malarial side effects - How long before they show?

Page
  • 1
  • 2

Last Post

1. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

Have already posted this elsewhere and had some comment, but interested in any personal experiences from the wonderful world of TP....

Sorry if this is a wishy washy question, but i've read lots of things about side effects to Anti-Malarials and that people should try them out before they rely totally on them in case they do get a bad reaction/side effects. Thats fine, and what I fully intend to do, but I'm curious as to how long you would have to take them before you would expect (as a rough idea - i know it's not exactly a fixed time and things can happen at any time) side effects to kick in?

One dose? A couple of days? A week? Longer? After stopping their use?

As I'm a mozzie magnet that can even manage to get bit above the arctic circle in Feb when it's -25, I obviously need to be seriously taking Anti-malarials now that i'm heading into a "danger" zone. And whilst my doctors suggested a few things before I left (8 months ago), I am prone to getting bad reactions/side effects to allsorts of medicines and pills - and not always straight away - and want to try things out before i'm forced to rely on them.

Any comments would be greatfully received.

2. Posted by Rraven (Travel Guru 5924 posts) 10y

my doctor told me to start taking them a week before i got there and for a month after i left to be fully covered but after only taking them for two days in ireland before leaving i was feeling terrible, i couldn't hold food down, had cramps, couldn't sleep and had a pounding headache, after quiting them i was fine within 3/4 days, Arjan was on the same ones but didn't have the same reaction, he had a quesy stomach for the first few days but that was it. after that i was put on a different type in the Gambia, the only side effect to those ones were tiredness at the start.....

3. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 10y

about a week after I started taking Mefloquin (I think I'm right in that-Larium) I had the most awful hallucinations, but if you're into that kind of thing...?? This particular one is supposed to enhance any depressive or suicidal tendencies you may have lurking in the back of your brain

I had bad dreams and such right up until I decided to stop taking them, perhaps a stupid idea but my own as I wasn't really going into any particularly malarially affected areas.

m

4. Posted by Pardus (Respected Member 2356 posts) 10y

I used Lariam for my 10 week trip and was fine, but I am pretty mad to begin with and I didn't notice any side effects. But that said, it affects every person differently and it's important to check for any side effects before leaving the country. Usually it's said to start 1-2 weeks before leaving and look out for any side effects.

But again, you have to check with your doctor whether you need the malaria pills or if it's enough to get the Emergency ones. If you're going to a region that is only mildly affected you'll be fine with the Emergency pills (and save some money).

But still, the pills are not a 100%-protection, you still need to put on Mosquito repellent and it's good to wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts in the evenings to avoid bites. I've been told to avoid wearing anything blue as this attracts them.

5. Posted by bibs (Full Member 89 posts) 10y

As I am in medical practice for some time now, I can tell you that all these Anti-malarials have all kinds of side effects and differ from person to person. But the more common ones are - mettalic taste in mouth, nausea and gastric irritation ( which are enough to upset your whole appetite especially while travelling), hallucinations upto some extent, headache. All these side effects generally start after 1-2 days (in therapeutic doses) and after two weeks in prophylaxis. In the first case you have to stop the medicines to get rid of it but in the later , your body gets adjusted to it after some time and you don't have to stop it.

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

I've been told to avoid wearing anything blue as this attracts them.

Now THAT sounds interesting. Rich goes to ponder if the fact that he gets bit so damned much is that well over half of the clothes he owns are shades of blue.

Anybody else heard of that one or got any comment about it?!

Bibs -

I've been told to avoid wearing anything blue as this attracts them.

Many thanks indeed. Thats useful to know. I've heard rumours that some people get side effects within an hour (literally) of starting, whilst others it takes several weeks. Obviously every medicene and person have a different set of effects (if any) and there's no fixed answer, but having some idea is good.

If I may ask, entirely out of curiosity and in no way that i will be taking this as my sole advice etc, what would you recomend that i (white European male, 26, not prone to getting lots of illness but normally has a cold, and gets bitten an absolute shed loads in Europe, even in periods when the mozzie population is virtually zero etc) should take for malaria, on a trip to South China (the only provinces where malaria is a relative risk, typically), Vietnam and trekking around the Cambodia/Thai/Myanmar etc border areas should take or do?

In all of these places i am likely to be off the major tourist track, and up in the mountains/most risk areas.

7. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

Gelli -This should help you out:

China - Rural areas only of the following provinces:
Hainan, Yunnan, Fuijan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, Tibet (in the Zangbo River valley only), Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, and Shandong. All travelers to the malaria-risk areas in the Hainan and Yunnan provinces in China, including infants, children, and former residents of these provinces, should take one of the following antimalarial drugs atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, primaquine (in special circumstances).

Source

Southeast Asia:
Burma (Myanmar): Rural only. No risk in cities of Rangoon (Yangon) and Mandalay. Special note: Travelers to the eastern states of Burma (Shan, Kayah, Kayin) should see the special Burma box below for additional information. Travelers to malaria-risk areas in Burma should take atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, (or primaquine in special circumstances) unless travel includes the eastern states of Shan, Kayah, and Kayin. Travelers to these states should use atovaquone/proguanil or doxycycline as their antimalarial drug. Mefloquine would not be recommended in these states.

Cambodia: All, except no risk in Phnom Penh and around Lake Tonle Sap. Risk exists at the temple complex at Angkor Wat (Siem Reap). Special note: Travelers to the western provinces bordering Thailand should see the special Cambodia box below for additional information. Travelers to malaria-risk areas in Cambodia should take atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, (or primaquine in special circumstances) unless travel includes the western provinces that border Thailand. Travelers to these provinces should use atovaquone/proguanil or doxycycline as their antimalarial drug. Mefloquine would not be recommended in these provinces.

Thailand: Limited risk in the areas that border Cambodia, Laos, and Burma. No risk in cities and major tourist resorts (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pattaya, Phuket Island, and Ko Samui.) Travelers to malaria-risk areas in Thailand should take either atovaquone/proguanil or doxycycline as their antimalarial drug. Mefloquine is no longer recommended for Thailand.

Source

atovaquone/proguanil = Malarone (most effective - also most expensive)
doxycycline = generic
mefloquine = Larium (known for strange dream patterns)
primaquine = generic

8. Posted by bibs (Full Member 89 posts) 10y

Gelli
yes south china is problem area.But I think you can choose between 2 drugs.

1. Mefloquin - 250mg base once a week. effective in China.

2.Doxycycline-100mg daily (It causes photosensitivity in some persons when exposed to Sun, and notrecommended for prolonged use -more than 3 months).Effective in Thailand

Resistance to Chloroquine has caused a major problem setback to the malaria treatment and prophylaxis worlwide,as no other drug is still as effecttive.
So It is better to take anti malarial agents by demographic sensitivity.
And try to use maximum body covering clothes, mosquito repellent creams and mosquito nets.
Mosquito repellent creams with DEET ( diethylmetatoluamide) more than 15% are recommended.
Though all these recommendations are quite frightening , you don't have to bother much. Lots of people are travelling these areas regularly without any major problems.
just a bit of awareness and precaution is only needed.

9. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 10y

Quoting Gelli

As I'm a mozzie magnet that can even manage to get bit above the arctic circle in Feb when it's -25, I obviously need to be seriously taking Anti-malarials now that i'm heading into a "danger" zone. And whilst my doctors suggested a few things before I left (8 months ago), I am prone to getting bad reactions/side effects to allsorts of medicines and pills - and not always straight away - and want to try things out before i'm forced to rely on them.

Any comments would be greatfully received.

Hi Gelli,

I don't have any advice about anti-malarial drugs, I haven't taken them as yet. I am the same as you, a mozzie magnet! When we do finally go travelling however, my boyfriend and I are paying extra for malerone, as Isa says it is the most expensive but it's also the most effective and with less side effects! I would rather not be allergic to anti-malarials and I don't fancy taking larium as there is a risk of the onset of schitzophrenia (not sure of spelling on that one!) as well as dodgy dreams!

I get bit when I sit in my garden in England (by ants of all things), but Boots do a fab insect repellent. If you come across a Boots, do go in and buy some. It's Extra Strength insect repellent gell, it's in a grey bottle. As it's a gel it lasts for ages, also I'm not allergic to it either (I'm allergic to lots of things which I put on my skin!) which is unusual as it has 50% deet in it. I think I have only been bitten a couple of times when I have been wearing it. This combined with anti-malarials and wearing the correct clothing should do the trick!

Donna

10. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

Quoting bibs

Resistance to Chloroquine has caused a major problem setback to the malaria treatment and prophylaxis worlwide,as no other drug is still as effecttive.

I agree with Bibs about Chloroquine. It is only recommended for a few areas in CA/SA. Resistance to Mefloquine (Larium) is also the problem in Myannmar, Cambodia and Thailand, which is why it is not recommended for those areas.

I also agree with her about using Doxycycline. It would be the drug I would choose to use if traveling to your destinations. She is also correct about the side effects such as photosensitivity and sensitivity of the skin to the sun. It can radically decrease the time it takes for you to sunburn and some people have been reported to develop hives from prolonged sun exposure. Doxycycline is a member of the tetracycline family of drugs and may also cause a yellowing of the skin and teeth after very prolonged use (3+ months or more of continuous use).

Malarone is a 2-compound combo drug which is why it is most effective, but also the most expensive. It also has been reported to have the least number of side effects.