malaria medications

Oct 20th, 2002, 10:15 AM
  #1  
xxx
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malaria medications

I will be traveling through Asia for 6 months, starting in Thailand. My health insurance in the USA will only pay for one month supply of malaria meds. As they are very, very expensive to purchase here, I was wondering the possibility of purchasing the medications in Thailand. I would like to take Malarone, specifically. Any help on this is greatly appreciated.
 
Oct 20th, 2002, 03:38 PM
  #2  
Kathie
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Malarone is not available in SE Asia. Another option for this part of the world is doxycycline, which is readily available in Bangkok. Remember that there are problems with counterfit drugs in SE Asia, so buy at a reputable pharmacy in Bangkok, and ask to see the bottle from which the medication is taken to verify the expiration date.

I'm assuming that you have already looked into whether you need anti-malarials in the areas where you are traveling. Check out the cdc website: www.cdc.gov You maybe want to plan your ininerary around when you'll have to take anti-malarials. As I assume you know, you need to continue to take malarone for a week after leaving the malarial-risk area. If you take doxy for some part of the trip, you have to continue it for a month after leaving the malarial risk area. Note that you cannot simply switch between malarone and doxy without completing the full course. The two drugs kill the malarial parasites at differnt stages.
 
Oct 20th, 2002, 07:35 PM
  #3  
Anna
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When do you leave for Asia? If you have more than a month, get the Malarone filled now and again before you go. Most insurance plans will allow you to refill your medicine 5 to 7 days early.
 
Oct 20th, 2002, 07:45 PM
  #4  
Marilyn
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Please be sure to consult with your health plan or a travel doctor about which malaria medicine you should be taking. There are 2 main types, and they are recommended for different geographic areas depending on the strain of malaria that is prevalent there. (I don't know what you do if you are going to be in both areas!)

I have taken both Lariam (which was covered by my health plan) and Malarone (which was not, because it is fairly new). (They are both the same type, by the way. )

Although I had to pay $80 for the Malarone, it was well worth it. Less pills to take, less time that you are taking the medication, and less side effects. Good luck!
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 07:09 AM
  #5  
Kathie
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Larium is NOT recommended if you are going to Cambodia, Laos or Burma and the border areas of Thailand with Burma, Laos and Cambodia, as there is malaria resistant to larium there. If you are going to those areas, malarone and doxy are your only effective options. All these of these medications work in different ways. (Marilyn, I'm not sure what you mean by larium and malarone being the same "type" of anti-malarial, so I may be misunderstanding your point here.)

My medical insurance paid for my malarone last year, and I understand it will pay for malarone again this year.
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 09:15 AM
  #6  
Marilyn
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Kathie, it was my understanding that there were two basic strains of malaria, thus two basic types of medicine. We were given Larium in 2000 for our trip which included Siem Reap, but no border areas. In 2001 we were told Malarone would cover us in the same area, so I assumed that both Larium and Malarone were effective against the same strain of malaria. Perhaps I am wrong and the situation has changed. Or perhaps I did not get correct information from the health service! BTW this was through Kaiser which has several travel advice nurses who specialize in these topics.

Anyway, all the more reason to consult with your doctor or health plan or travel clinic to be sure you have the most up-to-date information.
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 09:18 AM
  #7  
Marilyn
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PS Not to add to the confusion, but my point really was that you don't just choose your anti-malarial medication, you need to take the one effective for the area you are visiting. Original poster stated "I would like to take Malarone, specifically." Sounded like a choice, rather than "I need to take Malarone, specifically."
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 11:11 AM
  #8  
Pat
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I was wondering if any of you had any sort of negative reaction to malarone.
Thanks.
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 11:15 AM
  #9  
Marilyn
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Neither my husband nor myself had any adverse side effects with Malarone. We preferred it to Larium which made us feel kind of speedy for the first day or two (weekly pills) and definitely increased the intensity and strangeness of our dreams. Also hated having to take the Lariam for weeks after leaving the malaria area.
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 11:48 AM
  #10  
Monica
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I think the question was: are these medications (malarone, doxy, larium) available for purchase in Thailand. And I've heard no indication that larium is ineffective in thailand, cambodia, laos. (just came back from travel specialist today).
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 12:38 PM
  #11  
Kathie
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Please do read the cdc website. www.cdc.gov

There is resistant malaria in SE Asia, and this has been recognized for years. Some people only worry about the border areas mentioned above, more cautious travel medicine specialists suggest the use of malarone or doxy in all of the risk-areas of Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. My travel medicine docs at the University of Washington recommend malarone or doxy in the whole area, because of the problem of resistance to larium.

Marilyn, there are two kinds of malaria, but that has nothing to do with which medications are recommended. Which medications are recommended depends on which resistant strains are in a particlar geographic area.

Malarone is renowned for having few side effects; larium is renowned for having many. Doxy has relatively few. Read about the use and side effect profiles on the cdc website. You might also want to read the article on anti-malarials in Consumer Reports. It can be read for free on the website www.consumerreports.org

Monica, if your travel specialist told you there was not resistant malaria in SE Asia, do read the cdc website and call your doctor back. This is a serious issue. I always read the cdc website before I go to the Travel Medicine Clinic, so I am well-informed and can talk knowledgably about the issues.

And I did answer the availability question asked earlier: malarone is not available in SE Asia; doxy is.
 
Oct 21st, 2002, 12:47 PM
  #12  
Marilyn
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Kathie, thanks for the explanation and very useful info. I had the wrong idea about the two types of malaria and am glad to have it cleared up.
 

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