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Anti-Malaria Drug Options

by Nick H-J

Traveling in Central and South America can put you at risk for contracting malaria. Places where malaria is endemic change with seasons, population and other factors. In general, high altitude areas are safer, and lower altitude, rural places with tropical climates and lots of mosquitoes are higher risk. Buying anti-malarial drugs in the U.S. can be expensive. To see our experience of pre-trip planning for medicine and health see http://www.ramblewriter.com/ramblings/?p=124. We went with the cheapest option which was Doxycycline. Once we arrived in Guatemala, we changed our malarial prophylactic medication so as not to be taking a broad spectrum anti-biotic for months on end.

I like http://www.rxlist.com for looking up info on drugs.

Also http://www.wellontheroad.com/illnesses/malaria2.html has concise and well laid out information on malaria prevention as well as information on some common anti-malarial medications.

The CDC’s Malaria Risk Map can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/risk_map/

Specific Drug Availability Information:
Of the common malarial preventative drugs I have found the following to be readily available in Central America:

Fansidar
(sulfadoxine 500mg and pyrimethamine 25mg) Tablets
Avaible under the name:
Bimalar
(sulfadoxine 500mg and pyrimethamine 25mg) Tablets
at a cost of about 1.00 USD / pill (that’s 1 USD / 1 week supply).

There are some health reasons you may not want to take these as your malarial preventative so talk to your doctor about it first.

Aralen
(chloroquine phosphate 250 mg tablets)
is available under the same name
at a cost of 0.125 USD / pill (tha’s 0.25 USD / 1 week supply)

as well as under the name
Cloroquina
(chloroquine phosphate 250 mg tablets)
at a cost of 0.3125 USD / pill (that’s 0.625 USD / 1 Week supply)

Doxycycline is available under that name
not sure of the coast on this one

I will update this post as I get more info on what is available. I found all these drugs (except Doxycycline) in very small pharmacies in a small town in Guatemala. They are all sold over the counter. I am guessing that I will be able to find other drugs like Mefloquine Hydrochloride in larger cities when I have a chance to look. I’ll let you know.

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