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Treating Malaria

Posted by esocha on 27/7/2010 at 09:39

I understand the malaria topic is vast, full of dualistic decisions and overly processed. But, it seems I have a unique question that doesn't fit the 'malaria' messages and travelfish info....
I'm planning to spend at least 3 months in SEA, up to 6 month. I am not interested in taking antimalarials as I have experience travelling for 8 months in India without the pills (mind you, in the north where malaria is less prevelent).
Regardless of this, I am taking proper prevention along with me (bednet, natural and DEET repellents, long pants and shirts)...
My question is:
How does one TREAT malaria should one feel they have contracted the illness?
Have does some reading on Malarone, which you can take 3 or 4 pills once a day at the same time for three days. Is this correct? Are there any good sources for further reading on this procedure?

#1 esocha has been a member since 14/7/2010. Location: United States. Posts: 9

Posted by somsai on 27/7/2010 at 10:46

How about going to a good hospital in a big city where they have experience with such diseases? Say Bankok. Medical care is cheap in SEAsia and great quality. When I feel sick I go to a doctor.

Even in Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam they have very good doctors and lots of experience. For intance a trained pilot flew the plane from India ya?

#2 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 566

Posted by SBE on 27/7/2010 at 17:58

If you're anywhere near civilization then BY FAR the best option is to get to a hospital for tests and treatment. I'd say the whole of Thailand falls into this category....you'd be daft to self treat suspected malaria in a country with such a good transport infrastructure and so many excellent hospitals.

If you're somewhere days away from any medical treatment then Malarone can be used to treat malaria in an emergency. The instructions are in the box. You take 4 pills (all at once) at the same time of day for 3 consecutive days.

Unless you can get hold of some (genuine) Coartem ...and usually you can't because it's reserved for hospital use only... Malarone is probably your best treatment option. However you usually need to buy it before leaving home. In SE Asia you can only buy it in Hong Kong and Singapore (and maybe KL??) AFAIK.

Problems with self treatment.

1. Correct diagnosis. A friend of mine caught malaria (in Indonesia) but one of her main symptoms was excruciating bone and muscle pain... I've seen cases of malaria before but I couldn't tell if she had dengue or malaria (what type?) or both malaria and dengue. Without a blood test there was no way of knowing. Malarone is only designed to treat falciparum malaria, not other forms of malaria and it doesn't treat dengue. If she'd had dengue, giving her high doses of Malarone would only have made her feel even worse.

2. Taking a high curative dose means that side effects of Malarone will be more pronounced.

2.You usually have absolutely no appetite when you have malaria but the pills must be taken with some kind of dietary far to be absorbed correctly. Having a few dietary supplement oil capsules (omega 3 or suchlike) on you is a good idea, much more palatable than a greasy plate of nasi goreng. The leaflet in the Malarone box suggests taking the pills with a milky drink... good luck trying to find a milky drink in the remote areas of SE Asia where you might actually need to take this drug!

3. Another problem with self medication is that vomiting is very common when you have malaria... if you vomit the pills and only have one curative dose of Malarone with you then you're a bit stuck!

Here's some further reading for you about Malarone.


#3 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,055

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