Why are there so many different malaria drugs? Which one should I take?
Malaria is a disease caused by the malaria parasite, plasmodium, a protozoan that is passed into our blood when we are bitten by an infected mosquito. There are four types of plasmodium: P. falciparum (the most dangerous), P.vivax, P.ovale, P.malariae. Drugs are available for prevention and treatment. The choice of drug will depend on which malaria is causing the infection. There is also problems with drug resistance which will affect the choice of drug. There are different recommended prevention regimens (See the travel doctor website or the original PHLS guidelines) that your doctor or pharmacist will choose from. Which regimen you have will depend on where you are travelling and the current status of the malaria parasite in that region (i.e. which plasmodium is prevalent and whether any resistance to drugs has been observed). The World Health Organisation has information on malaria drug resistance.
Date of Posting: 24/01/2003
Date of next Review: 15/01/2005
Malaria; Malaria, Falciparum; Malaria, Vivax; Plasmodium Malariae; Antimalarials