Getting to know Atovaquone and Proguanil

Atovaquone and Proguanil – What is it?

Let me set the scene….

You’re headed off for the rural adventure of a lifetime in Malaysian Borneo. You’re extremely excited; who knows what you might see and who you might meet. You’ve sorted out the basics- flights, accommodation, itinerary… now you’re onto the slightly less exciting but equally important health bit.

What pills, potions and jabs will you need? You’ve visited your local travel clinic and (alongside other recommendations) your travel health professional has recommended that you need prescription only antimalarials for the duration of your trip to cover you against the risk of malaria. After discussions, they’ve recommended that a tablet containing Atovaquone 250mg/Proguanil 100mg is likely to be the most suitable for your needs. You’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole ordeal, particularly as you have never heard of these tablets and you are struggling to pronounce the name. You need more information before you can make an informed choice.

You are not alone. Many people travelling all over the world find themselves in a similar predicament. We want to make it easy for you to understand what these tablets are, why you need them and why it is so important to take them as prescribed. So, we devised a simple easy to use fact file to help!

WHY DO YOU NEED ANTIMALARIALS?

In brief, Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite which is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito in certain parts of the world. It can be fatal- so it is important you get protected if you are travelling to a risk area.

WHAT IS IN ATOVAQUONE/PROGUANIL TABLETS?

These tablets contain two drugs in one. Each tablet contains 250mg of Atovaquone and 100mg of Proguanil. Many different companies now manufacture these tablets as the patent on the original branded version (Malarone) has recently expired. For this reason, Atovaquone/Proguanil is sometimes referred to as Generic Malarone. This is because they contain exactly the same active ingredients as Malarone tablets and work in the same way.

HOW DO THEY WORK?

When you are bitten by an infected mosquito, the malaria parasite enters your blood stream. Atovaquone/Progunail work in combination to kill this parasite before it can mature and cause Malaria.

HOW LONG DO THEY TAKE TO WORK?

You will need to take these tablets 1-2 days before you travel to the risk area as this is how long it takes for the drugs to reach high enough levels in your blood stream to work effectively.

HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THEY?

No medication is 100% effective but when used in combination with measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitos they are over 90% effective at preventing malaria.

ARE THERE ANY SIDE-EFFECTS?

As with all drugs there are some side effects associated with the use of these tablets; however they are mild and infrequent. They may cause stomach upset, headache, dizziness and vivid dreams.

HOW LONG DO I NEED TO TAKE THEM FOR?

You will need to take them for seven days after you leave the malaria area as the malaria parasite takes roughly 7 days to mature in the liver.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I FINISH THE COURSE OF TABLES?

When you have completed the course of malaria tablets you treatment is complete. However, there is a very small chance you can still contract malaria despite using the tablets as prescribed. If you develop signs of fever, diarrhoea and sickness up to 1 year after you return home you need to see your GP and mention that you travelled to a malaria risk area.

QUICK FACTS:

Name: Atovaquone and Proguanil Tablets
Dose: One daily starting 2 days before and continuing for seven days after leaving the risk area
Effectiveness: Over 90% effective when used as stated above along with measures to avoid getting bitten
Side Effects: Mild, infrequent Most common stomach upset and headache.

 

If your need any more information about any anti-malaria medicines feel free to contact us and our pharmacists will be able to advise you. Heading abroad and not sure what anti-malaria tablets you will need? Check out our Malaria Risk Map.

Comments are closed here.