Malaria + Psych Effects


Feb 12th, 2006, 06:06 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Malaria + Psych Effects

Hi all - continue to be greatly appreciative of honesty and advice.

My son (13) has major depressive disorder -- am very concerned re having him take any anti-malarial. His psychiatrist is doing some research(we leave in July) but any thoughts/experiences greatly appreciated.
MPJ is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2006, 07:09 AM
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I'm not a physician, but many travelers to malaria areas who for whatever can't or choose not to take the specific malaria meds - Lariam or Malarone, are often prescribed Doxycyline.

Doxy is an antibiotic. If this is what your physician prescribes, be aware that one of the side-effects is sensitivity to the sun (yeast nfections for women), so SPF has to be used on exposed skin, even if inside a vehicle. The sun creeps thru windows, arms are out the window, rays come through the pop-top of the vehicle.

Also, upon your return from Africa (malaria area), doxy has to be taken for 30-days once home. Oh, and being a generic med, doxy is less costly than the specific malaria meds.

A friend and her sister (who herself is a physician) were heading to a malaria area. While neither had psychiatric conditions, one of their brothers did. They chose to go with non-malaria specific meds. They did not use doxy but another combination of pills, readily available in the UK.

Check the for details re inoculations recommended and malaria meds for the country you will be visting.

Let us know what your son's physician has to say on the subject.

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Feb 12th, 2006, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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I'd avoid Larium for your son based on my general knowledge of the anti-malarials. I have no medical background.
atravelynn is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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Another thing to keep in mind is the difference in efficacy of the different anti-malarials. Doxycycline is often prescribed as a secondary choice for patients who cannot take the first choice drugs for various reasons. I believe it is not as effective an anti-malarial as other drugs.

Obviously, it's much preferable to none at all and there are often valid reasons such as your sons not to take the more common anti-malarials but it's good to know the facts and weigh everything up.
Kavey is offline  
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Feb 12th, 2006, 09:02 PM
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Not a doctor either, but I have read alot of package inserts (!) as well as other articles about these drugs. I believe that there is a specific warning about lariam for those with diagnosed psych. disorders. Malarone has no such warning. Make sure your doctor knows about your sons condition and checks for the latest warnings and contra-indications. And when you pick up the prescription, ask the pharmacist for the package insert and read it (at my pharmacy they no longer provide these unless you ask!)
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Feb 12th, 2006, 11:31 PM
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My son suffers from night terrors so I didn't want him on the strong anti-malarial drugs either. A friend of mine's daughter had terrible hallucinations. So we used doxycycline (or however it is spelled). Yes - you have to take it daily and for longer...but it was worth it to us.
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