More anti malarial confusion???

Travel Forums Asia More anti malarial confusion???

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1. Posted by glenferrie (Budding Member 14 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Okay, I did research previous threads regarding this age old debate, but unfortunately I am still confused and concerned when it comes to anti malarials.
My boyfriend and I are intending to spend up to 12 months in India starting next year, so of course, malaria is a tricky one. After visiting out travel doctor today, I am feeling like there arent actually any appropriate options.
Doxy, being an antibiotic, actually counteracts the contraceptive pill and tends to cause thrush for women. Not to mention pain associated with exposure to sun. So thrush, potential pregnancy and stinging skin certainly doesnt sound appealing for 12 months. My dr actually recommended larium, which immediately sparked some pretty serious concerns. Whilst convenient only taking one tab per week, the psychotic side affects dont sound like something i would like to mix with culture shock. This then leaves the only other option of mozzie nets, repellant and crossed fingers. Having also researched the affects of malaria, relying on luck doesnt really appeal either.
I know lots of people face this issue often, so I'd love to hear what options people have chosen when faced with these concerns?

2. Posted by retomer (Budding Member 16 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


I've just returned from eight months traveling in India and SE Asia. As far as I researched, Maleria is an issue in certain areas of India and SE Asia. To me, that meant that I would go on and off Doxy (our drug choice).

While we did take Doxy for the first two India months, we stopped taking it. Lots of the travelers we met were not on any anti-maleria pills, and we learned that nothing is 100% anyway, not Doxy, not Larium, nothing. We heard lots of psychotic dream stories of those on Larium. In the end, it seems like travelers who've been on the road a long while prefer to protect themselves from bites, instead of medicating in case of bites.

I am one of those people who gets bit by any and every thing. I have to say that I had few bites at all in the whole eight months. I wore DEET religiously. It works very well! The best protection is, in my opinion only, to cover myelf with DEET and use mozzie nets when possible. The only real bites I got on my whole trip were sea lice in the Gulf of Thailand.

I brought several bottle of DEET as I knew I probably wouldn't be able to get it in India. Fellow travelers on their way home would give me their leftovers, too. Again, in my opinion only, this is the best defense....protect oneself from bites in the first place.

Just a note if you do decide on pills, and you are going through Bangkok, medications are way cheap there.

3. Posted by niteshb_in (Full Member 30 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Agree quite with the previous post.

Don't take pills either for malaria or pregnancy (don't you know of condoms, and please tell me it is not 100% sure so you want to take pills)

Finally IF in some really bad case you do get malaria/pregnant, there are treatments for both of them. Dealing with pregnancy is easier but malaria will eat up 1-2 weeks and a lot of energy. Still that is not really bad out of 12 months you have.

The simple way to deal with malaria is to rush to nice doctor as soon as you feel the symptoms. But once you have it, take complete rest, nice food for 1 week. You will be back on your feet after 2 weeks.

I have spent 24 years in India and last had malaria around 10 years back. Had it around 2-3 times in all my life. I dont eat any pills, dont apply anything on my body and I dont sleep in nets. In 4 years of university (highest density of mossies ever in my life), I used to get consicously bitten around 10 times every night.

Make your own choice,


4. Posted by Philymop (Full Member 110 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi, I just did some research on this too and would like to ask if anyone has got malaria tablets from Singapore, are they easy to get and cheaper than the UK, or is it more sensible to get them before we go?

Basically, my boyfriend and I have decided on Doxy. After speaking with my doctor, the contradictory effects on the contraceptive pill is true only for the first 2 weeks. The reason is that the damage is done by the antibiotic to some fluids in your stomach, which stops you absorbing the pill, but after 2 weeks these build back up (if you keep taking the pill through that time) and you are protected again. (If you ever take a break from the Doxy then you will have to wait the 2 weeks again.)

Otherwise, you can get a depo injection which protects you from pregnancy for 3 months, but not sure how easy it would be to get a top up in India! Obviously double check what i said with your doctor as I don't want to be responsible for any illness or babies, but that's the way I understood it!

It's all so confusing, flippin mosquitoes!

5. Posted by WeeJoe (Full Member 336 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Is DEET the best option in terms of a repellant?

6. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

DEET is the best option in terms of repellents.

Of the insect repellents registered in Canada, those containing 'N, N diethyl-m-toluamide' (DEET) are the most effective. Although the concentration of DEET varies from product to product, repellency rates are largely equivalent. In general, higher concentrations protect for longer periods of time, but there is little advantage in the duration of repellence with DEET concentrations greater than 50%, and there may be additional risk of toxicity with higher concentrations. New micro-encapsulated products containing 33% DEET are registered in Canada, and they should provide up to eight hours of protection.

From: Disease Information on Malaria from the Gov of Canada.

7. Posted by majortom (Budding Member 10 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Deet all well and good but is it not harmful, especially if you're using 90- 100% stuff(as i've been instructed to do by my doc for my soon to begin trip to india). To be putting it on your hands,ankles,(face and above shoulders?) is it not putting vicious chemicals on your skin every day, several times a day even? Has anybody ever had bad results from this? Just a thought.......

8. Posted by robertson (Full Member 53 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

As I've mentioned before - I used 50% DEET which I got on KSR in BK and it worked ok. I get eaten alive by mosquitos and this simply reduced the amount of bites I got. Without DEET I would have been screwed in Asia, but a mosquito net that is portable is also a good idea for evenings.

Also, travellers with health insurance should check out MALARONE. It's an alternative to doxycycline and larium and it's effective in Asia. I had zero side effects, only took it once a day and unlike Doxy you don't have to keep taking it for a month, nor will it make you more sensitive to the sun. It's expensive though, so if you don't have insurance and have any prolonged trips you might not want it.