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Anti-Malaria medication? For the Okavango and beyond!!!


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#41 amybatt

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 06:25 PM

Just a quick tip on taking Malarone. I was prescribed and took Malarone for both Tanzania last year and Kenya this year.  Last year I took it with no problems.  This year, I was fine taking it in Kenya (took it after dinner, before bed) but when I started taking it here at the same time (lunch EST), I got horribly (intestinally) sick and had a headache that wouldn't quit for days.  I figured it was just a matter of my mustering through the rest of the Malarone, and indeed it was.  My doc recommended taking two spoonfuls of peanut butter with it.  Malarone has a fat soluble ingredient in it, and my lunches were not fatty enough, apparently.  Took the PB and that was the quick fix.  I was symptom free thereafter.



#42 Tdgraves

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 06:41 PM

The best way i have found is taking it with breakfast, so it has all day to get through the system prior to laying down. No side effects at all that way....

#43 Alexander33

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 02:38 AM

We take Mefloquine. Only one tablet per week (as opposed to daily) beginning one week before potential exposure, and then one tablet per week for 4 weeks following return. We've had no negative side effects

Edited by Alexander33, 26 September 2014 - 02:45 AM.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."  -- Unknown 


#44 Alexander33

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 02:42 AM

Beats taking pills daily!

Edited by Alexander33, 26 September 2014 - 02:46 AM.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."  -- Unknown 


#45 inyathi

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 09:27 PM

@Alexander33

 

 

Beats taking pills daily!

 

 

Perhaps but only if you don’t suffer from any of the well known side effects associated with Mefloquine/Larium which obviously you don’t and quite a lot of other people don’t either, however for those that do the effects can be very serious. If you search the web you’ll find plenty of horror stories about Larium particularly in recent times in relation to the US military, this time last year US Special Forces Command banned elite troops from using Larium because of its alleged links to violence and suicides. Although the link is entirely unproven Larium was implicated in the case of US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales who murdered 16 Afghan civilians in 2012.  

 

SGT Scapegoat? The Latest on Lariam and the Sergeant

 

Elite Army units to stop taking anti-malarial drug

 

Recently the FDA added a so called black box warning to Larium Mefloquine Hydrochloride: Drug Safety Communication - Label Changes Due To Risk of Serious Psychiatric and Nerve Side Effects

 

Most people who take Larium don’t suffer extreme side effects so if you’re not a soldier I would suggest it’s ok to take it and if you’ve taken it already with no ill effects then go on taking it. However if you’ve never taken it why take the risk when there are effective alternatives. Certainly I don't think many if any doctors here in the UK would still recommend Larium as the first choice for malaria prevention.

 

Generally on a typical safari the chances of contracting malaria are pretty small especially in the dry season; in my experience in your safari camp out in the bush you’ll hardly encounter any mosquitoes. But however small you believe the risk may be where you’re going, you have to remember that you only need to be bitten by one infected mosquito to get malaria. If that mosquito is carrying Plasmodium falciparum (cerebral malaria) by the time you realise that you are really ill and it’s not just traveller’s diarrhoea or flu if you’re back home, you could be in serious trouble especially if you are way out in the bush many hours from the nearest hospital or back at home in a country where most regular doctors have very little or no experience of malaria. Do not take chances with malaria, P. falciparum which is very common in Africa can kill very quickly and even if it doesn’t kill you I can tell you from experience it's very unpleasant and you really don’t want it.

 

The most important thing whichever tablets you’re taking is to complete the course. In the UK there are on average around 1,800 malaria cases a year of which an average of around 1,300 are P. falciparum leading to around 8-9 deaths a year. A high percentage of these cases are a result of people choosing not to take their remaining tablets once they’ve left the malarial country in the mistaken belief that they are now safe. This is why it’s very important to make sure that the tablets you’re taking do not cause you any serious side effects.

 

Although obviously people do suffer side effects from taking Malarone this is not as far as I’m aware a serious issue, certainly Malarone does not have the terrible reputation that Larium has. So I would always recommend Malarone or the cheaper generic Atavaquone + Proguanil ahead of Larium. The instructions recommend taking Malarone either with food or a milky drink and this is another reason why breakfast is a good time to take them, I always take mine at breakfast unless I forget and have not suffered any ill effects to my knowledge.  I actually started taking Malarone at breakfast because one of the stated side effects is insomnia so I decided it would probably be better not to take them just before going to bed.

 

If for some reason you do really want to take Larium and have never taken it before then get two extra tablets and starting taking it 3wks ahead rather than the recommended 1wk, then if you do experience unpleasant side effects you can switch to another tablet. As I said earlier the most important thing is to take the full course so you don’t want to have to stop taking your tablets halfway through because of bad side effects.  

 

Given that the original question was mainly about the Okavango I should say that very few of the malaria cases in the UK originate from Southern Africa the vast majority are from West Africa followed by East Africa. So for visiting the Okavango the risk is probably pretty small but I would still recommend taking tablets. For the ‘and beyond’ especially in Africa except for the Cape always take malaria tablets, unless you have already experienced very serious side effects from taking malaria pills it simply isn’t worth the risk. A possible upset stomach or a few sleepless nights however inconvenient is preferable to dying of cerebral malaria.

 

Imported malaria in the UK: statistics


Edited by inyathi, 26 September 2014 - 10:26 PM.

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#46 ReiseBeate

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 07:19 PM

Hi,

 

I just came across this thread.

At my first trip to Botswana I took Lariam, and I had terrible side effects, like nightmares, dizzines, and so on.

than, the next trip, I took Malarone. And: no side effects at all.

I take it with breakfeast, because in the evening I want to have a glas (or two) of wine!

 

I also read the Tripadvisor-Forum. And there it is written that Malaria Prophylaxis is the most important thing for Safaris, because so many people die of Malaria or suffer for years, even in Europe and USA.

 

Beate



#47 Alexander33

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 04:43 AM

Very interesting thread. My partner had negative side effects with Malarone, so for our last trip, he switched to Mefloquine which I had taken previously without any problem. No side effects at all (not to mention no malaria, either). It's been fine for us, and I haven't detected any violent or suicidal tendencies in either one of us while we've been on it. But, obviously, talk to your doctor and take the medication that you feel is best for you.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."  -- Unknown 


#48 Abena

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Posted 07 December 2014 - 05:17 AM

On my first trip to Ghana I took Doxycycline as a prophylactic (prescribed by my travel doc and cheaper than the quinine based drugs) - it was awful.  It causes sun sensitivity and it tore up my stomach.  This time I took an herbal prophylactic, Sweet Wormwood - Artemisia annua - or artemisinin.  There's another herbal tincture from a plant called Cryptolepsis that is also supposed to be effective.  I had no side effects and I didn't get malaria...

 

I haven't been to East Africa, so I don't know if this applies to the eastern mosquitos, but in Ghana, they're tiny and when they bite it doesn't hurt.  Very sneaky, those mosquitos...







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