ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: MALARIA DRUGS

More accurately termed antimalaria drugs, this group of chemicals is beneficial for travellers, although their use for longer than three months is generally not recommended. The drugs kill the malaria parasites at varying stages of their life-cycle, which includes time spent in the red blood cells and well as in the bloodstream.

Treatment is by quinine, intravenously if the condition is serious or by tablet if not. Other drugs such as mefloquine or Fansidar may also be necessary and these drugs should be used if so advised.

Prophylaxis is with mefloquine, chloroquine, Paludrine or proguanil hydrochloride. Mefloquine has recently had some bad press and ideally should be avoided, but many strains of malaria parasite are now resistant to other drugs and it is better to try mefloquine and keep a close eye on your general health through your GP or healthcare professional.

Prophylaxis against malaria is generally safe. The pills are taken once a day or once a week because the body clears out the drugs within that time frame. If you do not react badly to them then it is safer to run the risk of the drug causing a problem than to run the risk of malaria.

Homeopathic remedies, specifically Natrum muriaticum, are often mentioned as an alternative. There is no strong evidence to support this although the use of Natrum muriaticum and vitamin B6 may help the body to fight any malarial infestation.

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