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Anti-Malarial Tablets - Help I don't know which to choose!?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Anti-Malarial Tablets - Help I don't know which to choose!?

1. Posted by marney86 (Budding Member, 7 posts) 8 Nov '10 15:00

Hey,

I am a first time traveller about to backpack around South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela etc) for 3 and a half months and have been advised to take anti malarial tablets as I will be in and out of high risk areas.

I have been advised by my nurse to either take Malarone or Doxycycline - I can't decide which to take as alot of people have recommended Malarone to have little side effects and that Doxycycline can make you burn and give you sickness etc. The main difference however is the price which is so much higher for Malarone.

I'm leaning towards Doxycycline, however am worried about the side effects - can anyone share their experience of taking Doxycycline and if they recommend it or not?

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks
Marney

2. Posted by baluba (Respected Member, 407 posts) 8 Nov '10 15:55

I took Doxy for a 5 week trip to Indonesia and the only side effects were a sunburnt nose, everyone on Doxy seems to get a sunburnt nose!

I then started taking Doxy whilst in Bolivia and found I started to feel really nauseous so I stopped ( I was in a no risk area anyway). Other people I spoke to had the same side effects.

Other people on Malarone had no effects at all.

You can almost guarantee to be sun sensitive whilst taking Doxy, so if its a tan you are after, I would go for the Malarone!

Also, Doxy is an antibiotic, I would not fancy taking an antibiotic for that much time.

Hope this helps

3. Posted by joffre (Respected Member, 157 posts) 8 Nov '10 16:53

Here's some info from Malaria - Wiki Travel. Personally I use Doxy, just remember if you do end up using it, to take it after eating to avoid feeling nauseous...

4. Posted by Yeah (Budding Member, 67 posts) 8 Nov '10 18:35

I would start with doxy, and just change to malarone if you are experiencing side effects.
When i was living in africa i started with doxy, but i got ill and was experiencing mild delirium, so i changed to malarone. However. Most people did fine with doxy.

5. Posted by marney86 (Budding Member, 7 posts) 9 Nov '10 01:51

Thanks for all the advice! I looked on Wiki Travel and Doxy doesn't sound too bad on there however have heard alot of bad stuff about it! I am not too prone to sunburn and if I wear a higher factor suncream than usual - would that not help with that side effect? As far as I gather, Malarone cannot be obtained over the counter in South America so I don't think I have the option of switching? I have read that an advantage to Doxy however is that it will help prevent travellers diarrhea - is there any truth in this? I think I'm going to trial Doxy for a week before I leave and see if it makes me ill - however I am from the UK so unfortunately no hot sun to test it out on! For the time I'm going the difference in price between the two is £250 vs £25 - Malarone being far more expensive - just trying to work out whether its worth it...

6. Posted by baluba (Respected Member, 407 posts) 9 Nov '10 05:15

Aaah..take it after food, hmm could have been my problem!!

I agree, Malerone is terribly expensive! I too do not suffer with sunburn much, but if you go for the doxy...look after your nose!!! You can spot a doxy taker from a mile off from their red and crusty noses!! High factor sunscreen and a hat should do it.

Good plan to try it out for a week or so before you go. Yes, it is supposed to help with travellers diarrhoea which is why I took it, unfortunately I have this habit of forgetting to eat. Maybe I will give it another go myself..with food!

Whatever you do, have a fantastic time in South America. Shame you do not have much time, I could have recommended an awesome volunteer experience in Bolivia (animals), but you need two weeks. PM me if you want to know details.

7. Posted by Isadora (Moderator, 13924 posts) 9 Nov '10 14:13

Doxy is one of the safest and most easily tolerated anti-malarials. It is also one that can be taken over extended periods of time - up to 2 years without interruption. (It's the same medication they use for the treatment of acne long-term at the same dosage.)

Most people who do experience a reaction to Doxy are sensitive or allergic to all "cycline" antibiotics. (Doxy is an antibiotic and in the same family as tetracycline. If you are sensitive/allergic to one, you will have an adverse response to any other drug in the same family.)

The number of people who experience reactions to Doxy is much lower than those who experience reactions to Malarone. Not only is Malarone expensive and not available as an OTC anywhere in the world, it has a higher rate of delusions, weird dreams, etc. than Doxy. (Larium (mefloquine) holds the prize for the most severe side effects.)

I agree with Claire (baluba - Hi Claire!), take it with food, milk or a couple of glasses of water. Do NOT take it within an hour of bedtime as it can cause acid reflux (heartburn). Use a sunscreen twice the SPF that you would use otherwise. (Ie: if you normally use an SPF 8 - use no less that an SPF 15 or higher.)

Finally, there is no Doxy-resistant malaria yet reported. It is available as an OTC in the countries where your travels are leading you. In the very off chance you do suffer a disease or injury requiring antibiotic treatment, the Doxy level you take as the anti-malarial will not interfere with the antibiotics the medical people prescribe. Just be sure - should you need medical assistance - to tell them you are taking Doxy as an anti-malarial.

TP Travel Guide - Malaria