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Help! Malaria Tablets in South America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Help! Malaria Tablets in South America

1. Posted by JerseyHayl (Budding Member 3 posts) 3y

Hi Everyone.. Some advice needed please!

I'm off to South America in just over 2 weeks and my doctor told me to trial the Larium malaria tablets, so I did, I was fine but my boyf wasn't!

But my friend went to see his doctor today and was told that Larium doesn't cover Peru.. Does anyone have any more info on this?!

Also has anyone take Larium while in South America as I read somewhere that it isn't good with altitude?!

Thanks x

2. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 3y

in general you dont need Malaria tabletts for Peru,or will you be for a long stay in the Amazon area?
have been sevaral times there and used only moscito repellant.
long trousers and long sleeves shirts are good.

3. Posted by Isadora (Moderator 13924 posts) 3y

I agree with Marlis, depending on your locations in Peru, anti-malarials will not be necessary. BUT, again, that is location specific.

Honestly, Larium is one of the least desirable anti-malarials due to it's side effects. Interestingly, women are the ones more highly prone to side effects than men. Though, it all depends on one's body.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have these recommendation:

Areas of Peru with Malaria: All departments <2000 m (6,561 ft) including cities of Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos, except none in cities of Lima (and coast south of Lima), Ica, and Nazca.

None in the highland tourist areas (Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca) and southern cities of Arequipa, Moquegua, Puno, and Tacna.

If you will be visiting an area of Peru with malaria, you will need to discuss with your doctor the best ways for you to avoid getting sick with malaria. Ways to prevent malaria include the following:

Taking a prescription antimalarial drug
Using insect repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites
Sleeping in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms or using bednets
If you are traveling to Lima or the coastal areas south of Lima, the risk of malaria is low and taking an antimalarial drug is not recommended. However, you should protect yourself from mosquito bites

If you are traveling to an area of malaria in any other part of Peru, all of the following antimalarial drugs are equal options for preventing malaria: Atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. (Mefloquine is the generic name for Larium.)

Personally, depending on your travel plans, I would recommend Doxycycline as the antimalarial of choice. It has few side effects, can be used long-term continuously, is very effective and cheap. If you are taking oral contraceptives then additional protection (condoms) should be used for the first 3 weeks while on Doxy. It temporarily lowers the OC effectiveness for a short period of time, with OC levels returning to normal. You can read more in the Wiki Malaria section.

Doxy is also available over the counter in Peru. Just be sure to use a reputable pharmacy if you need to refill your supply.

Hope that helps!

4. Posted by JerseyHayl (Budding Member 3 posts) 3y

Thanks for your replies!

Its a bit complicated as when I went to my GP to discuss malaria tablets he told me to work out where I was going to see where i'd need to be covered.

As we haven't really got an itinerary its hard! We are flying to Chile-Bolivia-Peru-Ecuador-Argentina-Brazil. From what i've read on the internet only some areas of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina have got Malaria risk and we're not too sure if we'll visit those areas yet.

So we were going to start taking the tablets in Chile (I know Chile doesn't have malaria but we have to begin taking them 3 weeks before a malaria zone) and carry them on until Brazil (As we have to take them for 4 weeks after)

I just thought even though we probably won't travel to the places with risk of malaria it would be safer just to take them anyway?!

I was fine on the trial of Larium so think i'm going to stick with them as i've been told the Doxy ones can make you sensetive to sunlight and i'm quite fair and burn easily, but looks like my boys is going to take the Doxy ones.

I was just curious as a friend we're travelling with was told by his GP that he had to take 2 types of anti-malarials for Peru and I couldn't find any info on the internet to back this up!

Thanks x

5. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 3y

Anti malaria pills - regardless of what make or brand, are generally not much good. There are supposed to be some new ones coming out for this summer that have a higher resistance tolerance to all those freely available now.
Trouble is, if you get attacked by a malaria carrying mosquito - there's very little out there, if anything, that'll stop you catching malaria. Anti malaria drugs merely supress the illness for awhile. Once their effect wears off, it all comes back again. It really is a nasty thing.
And remember, there are two different types of malaria - both quite different from each other.

6. Posted by Isadora (Moderator 13924 posts) 3y

Quoting flyingbob

Anti malaria pills - regardless of what make or brand, are generally not much good. There are supposed to be some new ones coming out for this summer that have a higher resistance tolerance to all those freely available now.
Trouble is, if you get attacked by a malaria carrying mosquito - there's very little out there, if anything, that'll stop you catching malaria. Anti malaria drugs merely supress the illness for awhile. Once their effect wears off, it all comes back again. It really is a nasty thing.
And remember, there are two different types of malaria - both quite different from each other.

No offense flyingbob, but actually, there are 4 differentiated species of the malarial parasite. A fifth species is in the process of being identified as it's own, well, species. As for anti-malarials merely suppressing the infection, that's is not completely true either. It happens more frequently when someone has not followed through on their course of medications for whatever reason or have been poorly/misdiagnosed.

Sorry, I'm afraid I must leave at the moment though will continue this in a timely manner as I like these discussions.

7. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 3y

Quoting Isadora....
No offense flyingbob, but actually, there are 4 differentiated species of the malarial parasite.
Not quite correct - I'm afraid. You are getting confused with the four different types of parasite that cause malaria - and the actual two types of malaria that they cause.
There are four different plasmodium malaria parasites, but these will cause the victim to suffer from one - of only two types of malaria.... Malgnant Malaria - and Benign Malaria.
Here are definitions of the two different types of malaria:

Malignant malaria - This is the most serious type of malaria and will cause the victim to suffer symptoms within three months of transmission. The symptoms can be both mild and severe. This type of malaria is caused by the Plasmodium Falciparum malaria parasite.

Benign malaria - This is a more mild strain of malaria and can have a dormant stage of up to a year and even beyond in some cases before symptoms become apparent. It is also possible for the parasite to stay in the liver and cause relapses of the malaria disease. This type of malaria is caused by the Plasmodium Vivax, Plasmodium Ovale and Plasmodium Malariae malaria parasites.
Hope thats cleared that one up.
No offence taken - by the way.

8. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 3y

Oh - and as an addition (again no offence taken - whatsoever) there is still no fully effective malaria remedy. As I previously said, 'All' so called malaria preventative medicines, merely suppress the malaria. There is no cure for malaria. Not my words incidentally, but those quoted from 'Insecta Inspecta World'. One of the best websites dealing with diseases caused by insects, in the World.
Neither are they my words in the previous post.