Southeast Asia forum

Malaria with a twist (pregnancy planning)

  • panlou

    Joined Travelfish
    8th July, 2010
    Posts: 8

    I know malaria is a very common topic, but despite all the threads I have read I still havent understood what the verdict is in relation to women planning to get pregnant.

    Specifically, my understanding is that it is not advisable for pregnant women nor for those breastfeeding to take antimalarials nor to travel to high risk areas. However I cannot figure out how long after taking the various antimalarials or returning from the suspect areas is it safe to try and become pregnant.

    Any feedback will be fgreatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    panlou

    #1 Posted: 15/8/2010 - 22:11

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  • SBE

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    Location Global Village
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    What anti malarials were you taking? The half life of the different drugs varies quite a lot.

    #2 Posted: 15/8/2010 - 22:35

  • panlou

    Joined Travelfish
    8th July, 2010
    Posts: 8

    I havent been. My wife is concerned because we are planning a 2 week honeymoon trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Philippines around Xmas. She has been advised that she needs to take antimalarials (i am not convinced yet but working on gathering info) but is weary of them as we are planning to work (!) on getting her pregnant from the trip onwards.

    It could affect our decision if we know how long after taking the antimalarias or returning from the area it is safe to get pregnant.

    #3 Posted: 16/8/2010 - 16:49

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1931
    Total reviews: 5
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    At least 2

    Based on where you're going it sounds like you won't be needing anti-malarials at all. In any case you shouldn't try to start a pregnancy while taking anti-malarials. They all have at least suspected fetal toxicity. You can do a search on this site for more information.

    http://www.drugs.com/pregnancy/

    http://www.drugs.com/pregnancy-categories.html

    As for the time you need to wait after stopping the medication, here are the plasma half lives of common antimalarials.

    Malarone (FDA Category C) 3 days
    Lariam (FDA category C) up to 4 weeks
    Doxycycline (FDA Category D) about one day.

    After 4 half lives, 94% of the drug has been eliminated from the blood plasma ... so if you've been taking Lariam you'd probably need to wait several months before trying for a pregnancy. The pharmokinetics are actually a lot more complicated than that (some drugs get stored for longer periods in the organs and body fat) but it gives you an idea.

    In any case I'd recommend consulting a doctor who actually knows something about the malaria risks in SE Asia (many don't).

    Back to your trip...3 countries in 2 weeks is really rushing it. You'll be spending most of your time on trains planes and buses, hanging around waiting at airports, constantly packing and unpacking etc.

    You'll probably find you're too knackered to get to *work* much during your trip anyway! ;-)

    #4 Posted: 16/8/2010 - 22:57

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