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Malaria is a life-threatening disease spread by mosquitoes, usually at night time and particularly in tropical climates. Symptoms develop within 10 days to 4 weeks, however the infection can lie dormant for several months before symptoms start to show.


Malaria is spread mainly by female Anopheles mosquitoes that carry the Plasmodium parasite, which is injected into the human bloodstream when the mosquitoes bite. The parasite then matures in the liver and infects your red blood cells. There are four different types of malaria parasites, which each have different severities of symptoms;  all types of malaria are still dangerous. Malaria affects the blood and so can also be contracted through anything that contaminates the blood, such as blood transfusions and organ transplants. However, this is extremely rare due to modern day screening processes.




Malarone is an antimalarial medication used to prevent malaria in areas where there is resistance to other antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine. Malarone contains two active ingredients: atovaquone and proguanil. These work in conjunction to kill the parasite infection before it can cause malaria. Malarone treatment should be started before entering the endemic area and continued during your trip.


Take one tablet daily with food at the same time each day.

Start taking the tablet 1 to 2 days before you enter the malaria area, continue taking it for the duration of your trip and for 1 week after you leave.


Which is better: Malarone or Doxycycline? 

Malarone only needs to be taken for 1 week after leaving the malaria area and has fewer side effects than doxycycline. Doxycycline needs to be taken for 4 weeks after leaving the malaria area, however it is cheaper than malarone. Doxycycline decreases the efficacy of the contraceptive pill, so this is not recommended for women on the contraceptive pill. The choice of antimalarial treatment depends on your preferences.

Side Effects:

●     Nausea

●     Headache

●     Stomach pain

●     Diarrhoea

Patient Information Leaflet (from EMC):


●      High fever

●      Headache

●      Sweats & chills

●      Vomiting

●      Muscle pain

●      Diarrhoea


How Can I Prevent Malaria?

Check the risk of malaria in the country you are visiting and be aware of the risk no matter how small the risk may be. Keep mosquito bites to a minimum by covering the skin with clothing through the night, using DEET-based insect repellent, sleeping under an insecticide covered mosquito net and using air conditioning. Make sure you are taking the antimalarial tablets supplied regularly and as recommended. Report any flu like symptoms to a doctor as soon as possible. Preventing is always better than curing, so stay away from stagnant water and make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations.