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What are the Different Types of Malaria Medications?

Allison Boelcke
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Malaria is a disease that is caused by mosquitoes which are infected by parasites. If an infected mosquito bites a person, the parasite can then be passed on. Malaria typically causes a drastic change in body temperature, which can result in fever, chills, or heavy sweating, and may ultimately result in organ failure, brain damage, fatally low blood sugar, or trouble breathing. A variety of medications can be used to fight malaria, but none of them have been conclusively proven to treat malaria over a long period of time because the parasites that cause the disease may form immunities to the drugs and cause many malaria medications to be less effective.

One of the possible malaria medications that may be prescribed to fight the disease is doxycycline. Doxycycline is an antibiotic medication that can also be used to treat acne, and is thought to be able to possibly fight off the parasite infection. Its side effects include an increased sensitivity to the sun, which may cause issues for people residing in the tropical climates where malaria is most common.

Another one of the possible malaria medications that can be prescribed is primaquine. Primaquine is a medication that is typically only used for the treatment of malaria. The medication may be able to kill the parasite that caused the malaria infection; however, it is not known precisely how or why primaquine is successful in fighting the parasites. Primaquine cannot be prescribed to people with glucose-6-phosphatase dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, a condition in which a person’s body does not contain a sufficient amounts of G6PD, an enzyme used in metabolizing blood. Although the condition does not usually cause symptoms, primaquine can worsen the condition and cause the breakdown of red blood cells, which can lead to kidney damage; therefore, in order to be prescribed the medication, a person’s G6PD levels must be tested.

Malaria medications that may be prescribed may also include chloroquine. Chloroquine is a medication that has been found to fight against parasites that cause malaria, as well as treat infections caused by amoebas. It is similar to primaquine, in that the mechanics behind how or why it works at treating malaria have not been proven. The medication can also not be taken by people with a G6PD deficiency and one of its most serious side effects is a sudden change in vision, including blurriness or fogginess.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke , Former Writer
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.

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Allison Boelcke

Allison Boelcke

Former Writer

Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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