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Thread: Anti Malaria Drugs page

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    Meadow's Avatar
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    Question Anti Malaria Drugs

    Has anyone taken anti malaria medication as a preventative while on a trip or have any experience with their side effects? I already have digestive problems and am worried that the meds might just make things worse (candida problems, food intolerances). Any experience with that?

    We are going to Roatan in early July and I have been debating on what to do. There are issues with malaria there, although I hear the strain is not as bad as some.

    As much as I hate to, we will already be dousing ourselves with heavy duty bug spray due to terrible no see ums and sand fleas (I tend to get eaten alive by bugs and have reactions, so I am going to go with the chemical preventative). We will also be taking down a Thermacell to use in the mornings and evenings say on the porch for mosquitos.

    Reading through forums and travel information, some people take the drugs, some don't. Some docs recommend them for the area, some don't. I actually have an appt with a new doc at my primary care office that has a travel specialty, so I am also asking what he thinks next week.

    Just trying to weigh the risk of getting malaria which can have lifelong effects, or the meds which might mess up my system. Hrmm.

  2. #2
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    Upped. I'd like to hear something on this topic too.
    Have you made sure to research all the different malaria 'medicines btw? There seems to be a big variety and i understand some doctors adhere to specific brands on a semi-religious level. The possible side effects of some are quite horrific.

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    I used Malarone when I was in India. It has far, far fewer side effects than older antimalarial drugs. Unfortunately, it's really expensive, so I was lucky to have a drug plan that covered the cost. I'd say it's worth it if you can afford it though. You'll also want to consult with a travel medicine specialist to make sure you have the appropriate medication for your destination since there are drug-resistant strains of malaria in some regions, and you have to take the right antimalarial or it won't be effective in that region. Sounds like the new doctor at your clinic will be able to help.

    Personally, I support taking medications and travel vaccines. Some people around here disagree, but after looking at the risks and benefits, I think it's worth being vaccinated.

    Also, if you are considering vaccines, I used Dukoral and had no issues digestively (except when I got glutened--yay celiac). My partner didn't and ended up with far more issues. I know that's not really a scientific study or anything, but it's worth asking about if you have a sensitive system.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    Meadow's Avatar
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    I have done some research, but every time I start reading the side effects and precautions I go back to thinking there is no way I am taking those meds unless I GET malaria. But then I start reading on a thread about how many got malaria in a particular area, and I start worrying again.

    The area I am traveling to I would say chloroquine is probably the most common as their strains are not resistant to it.

    I know doxycycline is used sometimes, but frankly, that drug set me off on a terrible spiral of problems 15 years ago so I wouldn't touch it (sort of the straw that broke the camels back).

    Mefloquine and malarone are the other two I know about.

    Hoping my doc can give me detailed feedback on side effects, long term issues, short term problems, etc. He supposedly has done a lot of work in Caribbean countries in the last decade.

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    My doc gave me Artemisia annua capsules for my lyme disease. She said that it is a plant extract which is used for malaria, but helps with LD, too (she said it helps the antibiotics to get into the cells). I had no side effects at all (at least I blamed the antibiotics for the side effects I had!)

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    Whether a tick bite & Lyme Disease or a mosquito bite & West Nile Virus or Malaria,
    immediately apply lugols 5% iodine available at Amazon.Com to the insect bite.

    This kills off the infection before it can start, and stops the itch, reduces swelling. Everyone carried a bottle of iodine around their necks 100 years ago to prevent insect bite diseases.

    Iodine is also being used to treat active cases of Malaria in India. The more you study iodine, the more amazing it is.

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    Grizz
    Last edited by Grizz; 05-23-2012 at 09:11 AM.

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    I have taken Malarone with mild digestive upsets when I was headed to the South Pacific and it was prescribed for me again when going to Africa.

    In the S. Pacific it was definitely worth taking as the bugs were everywhere and savage bloodthirsty creatures. In Africa, I decided not to take the pills because it was the dry season and the occasional bug I saw could be handled by spray repellant. So, IMO, it's a risk/benefit analysis. I don't know about Roatan or its seasonal variations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    In Africa, I decided not to take the pills because it was the dry season and the occasional bug I saw could be handled by spray repellant. So, IMO, it's a risk/benefit analysis. I don't know about Roatan or its seasonal variations.
    From what I hear in Roatan the mosquitos are there, but mostly a morning/evening issue and can be slightly dependent based on the amount of rain. Seems from watching the forums most people had no issues with the mosquitos as long as they used repellant. The sand fleas and no see-ums were the harder ones to prevent.

    Good point.

    Have my appt with the travel doc on Friday. Was happy the receptionist actually took down the info as to where I was traveling because the doc researches the area BEFORE our appt. Thats nice to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow View Post
    From what I hear in Roatan the mosquitos are there, but mostly a morning/evening issue and can be slightly dependent based on the amount of rain. Seems from watching the forums most people had no issues with the mosquitos as long as they used repellant. The sand fleas and no see-ums were the harder ones to prevent.

    Good point.

    Have my appt with the travel doc on Friday. Was happy the receptionist actually took down the info as to where I was traveling because the doc researches the area BEFORE our appt. Thats nice to hear.
    Generally you are supposed to start taking the pills 48 hours before exposure. I would suggest to go with that and then re-evaluate the risk/benefit once you are there on the ground. You can always stop taking them. A couple of days worth won't hurt you.

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    I was prescribed larium in 2000 when I went to africa. I decided not to take it once I was there.

    I discovered that my lotion (which had lemongrass in it) was a natural repellent, and then I used a DEET based insect repellent cream on any exposed skin.

    This was my process: bathe, put lotion on my whole body, dress, put the DEET-stuff on the exposed skin (hands and wrists, feet and ankles, neck). I didn't put any on my face because it burned a bit. But, I had the lotion on my face.

    I got zero bug bites in Africa, though admittedly, I was there in "winter" -- equatorial winter, but winter still. this might have made a difference in bug population.

    that being said, my professor did get malaria on that trip, and the disease pretty much stinks.

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