Jan 6th, 2006, 04:18 PM
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We are leaving for our first safari to Kenya on the 26th of this month. We have gotten all the required immunizations and am about ready to get the prescription filled for Malaria. (Mefloquine) I did a little research online, and am now scared to death to take this medication. Has anyone had any adverse effects, and is it absolutely necessary to take it when travelling to Kenya.
stvmic is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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another option with less side effects is Malarone. every one has an opinion on the two but the consensus favors Malarone over Larium (mefloquine)
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 05:11 PM
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Wife and I used Malarone in 2003 and 2004 with no side effects.
tuckeg is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 05:26 PM
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we also used malarone in October and no side effects either.
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 05:41 PM
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An alternative. I have used is Doxycycline. In Asia, Africa and South America and never a problem. Its cheaper too.
luangwablondes is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 06:08 PM
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I've taken Mefloquine many times with no problem. Wouldn't know it was in my system. If your doctor/travel clinic prescribed malaria medication, I'd take some form of it.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 6th, 2006, 06:12 PM
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My travel doc prescribed doxycycline as well. I'm not sure if that's because my health plan covers it and I would have had to pay for Malarone, but we took doxy with no side effects other than increased sun sensitivity. I understand that it is the least effective, however. (?)

So, you do have some options.

Enjoy your safari. I'm sure it will be wonderful.
Leely is offline  
Jan 7th, 2006, 03:54 AM
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Malaria prophylaxis is definitely necessary when travelling in Kenya. Regardless of how unpleasant the drug is, it is much less unpleasant than contracting malaria and having to be evacuated, like one Fodorite's father.

If you are concerned about the medication, you have two options. You can opt for Malarone, which has the lowest incidence of side effects, but is quite expensive (about $1 per pill in the US, I believe).

Alternatively, do a drug trial with Mefloquine -- take it for a few days and see what happens. If you are side-effect free, you can stick with it; if the side effects bother you, you can get Malarone. You should start the trial soon, as most doctors advise trying it out for about a week before making the decision.

jasher is offline  
Jan 7th, 2006, 05:00 AM
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Hello Stvmic,

Do as Julian says. He’s a doctor. I’d recommend his second alternative, unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket.

Many people get side effects when taking Lariam (Mefloquine), but most don’t. I used it in 2004 and 2005 and will continue using it until something better and cheaper appears.
Nyamera is offline  
Jan 7th, 2006, 05:22 AM
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Lariam (mefloquine) costs about $9-$10/pill which you commence taking 1 or 2 weeks prior departure (same day weekly), weekly while in Africa and then for 4 weeks upon your return. Assuming a 2-week safari, you'd need about 8 tabs costing about $90.

Malarone which has less side-effects, is taken daily, commencing 2-days prior arriving in infected area, then daily (preferrably in the morning with food - dairy such as milk, yougurt, cheese is recommended). And for 7-days upon returning from the area. If you have a drug plan these pills may cost about $35+/-; without a plan, figure between $90-$120, so check around.

Doxycycline, is an antibiotic (and a generic med) and not specific for malaria but often recommended for those who for some reason can't take the other two. These tend to make one sensitive to sun and woman may get thrush (yeast infections). Though less costly than those above, have to be taken for 30-days after leaving/returning from infected area.

Though some people have no reaction to the Lariam, the possible side-effects can be restless or interrupted sleep, wierd dreams, even psychotic episodes. Fewer people have reactions to Malarone, if any. With doxy you have to consider the side effects as above.

Discuss again with your physician.

Jan 7th, 2006, 05:55 AM
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In Sweden 8 Lariam pills cost about $ 28, and that’s paying full price. I´ve paid a lot less for left over pills from a person I found on the Internet.

Nyamera is offline  
Jan 7th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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Here's a good article published by the Center for Disease Control about the drugs, their side effects, who should not take each one, etc.

wjsonl is offline  
Jan 7th, 2006, 03:03 PM
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Jack -

Great summary. Thanks.
Jan 9th, 2006, 02:22 AM
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I take Palodrine and Chloroquine. The doctor says "you should take Lariium" and I say that I wont take it because of the side effects (For me it's disturbed sleep and bad dreams.. for others it seems to trigger quite serious psycological illness.

P&Q works for me, but it's not the most effective. Malarone I've not tried.

My advice would be to take the advice of a Tropical Diseases specialist. Fortunately in the UK we have a Tropical Diseases hospital in Liverpool, and I have a friend who did her specialty there.
Pumbavu is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 04:57 AM
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I, as well as several of my friends, have taken Lariam several times with no adverse effects. In fact, I do not personally know anyone who has had a problem with it, in spite of all negative things I have read it.

For my 15 January safari to Tanzania I will be taking the generic mefloquine which was considerably cheaper than the name brand and cost me about $1 a pill.

safarilover is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 06:29 AM
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There is good thread about larium pros and cons, somewhere.
I think everyone should take what's best for them, but after reading some articles and having my doc. tell me that the possible dream side effects seem so real and vivid that I chose to take the Malorone.
My Nigerian travel doc. told me about his friend who woke up with snakes biting him whilst running around camp in his undies.
I know not everyone will experience this, but having to worry about which undies to wear to bed would be just one more extra inconvenience for me.
cybor is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Just took my first Larium this morning, and I'm perfectly fine, aahh! whats that behind me.....
napamatt is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 08:51 AM
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And I do expect that you have good undies on Napa, just incase - ha.
I should have inferred in my last post that I was joking - to save me from getting razzed from you fine folks.
cybor is offline  
Jan 9th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Sherry, smileys and whatnot are goofy, but helpful for conveying the "I'm just kidding" vibe.

I remember reading about Larium and the term "vivid dreams" kept coming up. I'm pretty sure I don't want my dreams any more vidid than they are already.

Leely is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 12:16 AM
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First of all there is no 100% prevention – the Plasmodium spp mutate & evolve new strains appear’ & this is why new medications appear
Though looking again at data some claim it’s 98% !!

Let me summarize :

1) Chloroquine & Paludrine (proguanil)
Paludrine was added to classic Chloroquine to extend the coverage of the drug
(blocks an enzyme which has to do with reproduction of the parasite)
The problem: Paludrine needs to b taken daily, this is why Mefloquin became popular – only once a week

2) Mefloquine (“Lariam”) – taken only once a week it was considered more convenient than 1. It does have more side affects than the others, the most scaring, though rare, r psychiatric ( someone with psychiatric background should never take it
look at this site references:
One source: 0.7% (1 in 140) travellers taking mefloquine can expect to have a neuropsychiatric adverse event
Another:.” Neuropsychiatric adverse events were found in 29% of the subjects, with 19% being considered "moderate or severe".

3) Doxycycline is actually an anti-biotics which was usually prescribed for those who were reacting badly to Mefloquin or to persons with a certain medical record …
Much less side-effects than Mefloquin

4) Mallarone a new drug containing also proguanil (like in Paludrine) but is taken once a week & has less side-effects than Mefloquine …

Conclusions: a) The best is to consult a doctor b) if he says Mefloquin he is in a serious minority among world specialists … c) why take chances – there r alternatives

PS as for myself’ since staying long periods in safari country (though I did get malaria in the early 1980s) I couldn’t ruin my liver with long term medication.
In some of these areas, higher altitude & certain seasons there is no malaria,
But I do not want to specify. TAKE PILLS & use other methods of protection.

aby is offline  

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