Malaria, while not a problem in most developed countries, often runs rampant in the third world or tropical areas of the world. If you are preparing to travel to locations where malaria is present, you will likely need to take some medication with you as a precaution. However, these medications can come with some adverse side effects. These effects will vary depending on which drug you take.
Mefloquine, or Lariam, is an antimalarial medication that needs to be taken well before you go somewhere that has malaria. The side effects possible from this drug include insomnia, vivid dreams, hallucinations, dizziness, and headaches. This drug can interact poorly with anyone who has mental disorders, psychological problems or who suffers from seizures. If you have any of these conditions, let the doctor know so that an alternative can be prescribed for you.
Doxycycline, or Vibramycin-D, should be taken within two days of travelling to areas with malaria, and you will need to continue to take it after you leave that area. There are specific dosage instructions for this drug, and they include taking the drug with a meal and ensuring that you are upright when you take it. The possible side effects include an upset stomach, thrush, heartburn and sun sensitivity. This drug is also used for treating acne, so you may be able to find it more easily than some of the others.
Chloroquine and Proguanil are drugs that are combined to treat malaria. The problem with them, though, is that they don’t work very well against the modern, very virulent strains of malaria we see nowadays. They can still be effective in places like India, where those specific malaria strains are not generally present.
With any of these medications, you need to pay close attention to the side effects that can happen. You may have a severe adverse reaction to the drug, and you need to notify the doctor if anything unusual occurs. Since everyone is different and our bodies react differently to medications, the possible side effects will vary from person to person. If any symptoms you experience are very severe, stop taking the medication and inform the doctor.
If you are planning a trip abroad, check health advice for the countries you will be travelling to. You can do this by visiting NHS Fit for Travel or the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).