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What Is Halofantrine?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Halofantrine is a prescription medication used to treat a medical condition known as malaria. Serious side effects have been associated with the use of this drug, so it is normally used when other antimalarial medications are not effective. Some of the most frequently reported side effects of halofantrine include diarrhea, headaches, and dizziness. More serious side effects may include chest pain, seizures, and allergic reactions. Questions concerning the use of halofantrine in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Malaria is an infectious disease that affects the red blood cells and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle pain are commonly experienced when a person contracts malaria. Different medications are available to treat this parasitic disease, and halofantrine is often used if other drugs are thought to be ineffective. Serious side effects are possible when using halofantrine, so many doctors prescribe it as a last resort.

Headaches, nausea, and diarrhea are among the most common side effects of halofantrine and should be reported to a doctor if they become persistent or severe. Additional fluids may be necessary in order to prevent dehydration in cases where severe vomiting or diarrhea are present. Some people may experience respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, or painful breathing when using this medication. Abdominal pain, bloody stool, or vomit that resembles coffee grounds may indicate complications involving the digestive system and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Potentially life-threatening cardiac issues have been linked to the use of halofantrine. Heart palpitations, chest pain, or the onset of fainting spells should be reported to the prescribing physician immediately so that proper medical tests can be performed to determine the amount of heart damage present. Discontinuing the medication when these symptoms first appear may prevent permanent damage to the heart.

Some medications may not interact well with halofantrine, so it is important to notify the supervising physician of any over-the-counter, prescription, or herbal medications being taken. Confusion, seizures, or hallucinations may occasionally occur when taking this medication. Allergic reactions rarely occur but can be fatal if not treated immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, or swelling of the throat or tongue. Other side effects are also possible, so any unusual or bothersome symptoms should be reported to a member of the medical staff for further evaluation.

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