Malarone is an anti-malarial medication manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline that uses a proguanil/atovaquone combination to prevent or treat malaria. Malaria, a disease widespread in the regions of South America, Southern Asia and Africa, is caused by certain species of parasites living in the gut of mosquitoes, which enters the human body when they are injected into the bloodstream after a mosquitoe bite. The drug functions by interfering with the parasitic growth in the Red Blood Cells of our bodies.
Malarone is a fixed-dose combination drug that includes the two anti-malarial agents proguanil hydrochloride and atovaquone. While the former is a white crystalline substance, the latter is a yellow crystalline substance, with both being only sparingly insoluble in water. The inactive ingredients of this tablet include low-substituted poloxamer 188, magnesium stearate, povidone K30, sodium starch glycolate, microcrystalline cellulose and hydroxypropyl cellulose.
The drug comes in two varieties, both in tablet form, meant for oral administration. The outer coating of both the tablets is made up of polyethylene glycol 400, red iron oxide, titanium dioxide, polyethylene glycol 8000 and hypromellose. A standard Malarone tablet comprises 100 mg of proguanil hydrochloride with the content of atovaquone being 250 mg. The Pediatric version of the tablet packs in 62.5 mg of atovaquone and 25 mg of proguanil hydrochloride.
Cost of Malarone
Malarone tablets are expensive. Malarone tablets are under license (patent) and produced by only one drug company (GSK). It is considered the most potent anti malaria tablet and there is no competition in the supply of tablets, so the price is therefore bit high.
Things to Know Before Using Malarone
Malarone is not for you if you are allergic to either proguanil or atovaquone. Again, if you are suffering from kidney disorders, this drug is usually not recommended. Before taking the drug its advised to consult your medical practitioner and talk about any liver or kidney disorders that you may be suffering from. The same applies for people suffering from depression, mental illness and epilepsy.
If you are planning on becoming pregnant anytime soon or you are already pregnant, let your doctor know about it. While it is still a matter of research if Malarone can cause any harm to the foetus, it is strongly recommended, that you stay away from Malaria prone regions because of the severe risks associated with it for a pregnant woman. This much has already been found out that, if proguanil or atovaquone passes into the breast milk, a nursing baby can be harmed.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not use Malarone without informing the doctor. The drug is not usually prescribed to a Malaria affected child weighing below 11 kgs.
Contact a doctor at the earliest possible if you feel feverish or experience symptoms that are generally associated with malaria. This is important even if you have already been to a malaria prone place, but do not yet feel any such symptom after returning. This is because, in some cases, the infection may take a while to spread and give you a feel of the symptoms, although it is also very much possible that you haven’t got the infection at the first place. But, as the good old saying goes “prevention is always better than cure.”
No medication is 100% effective in the treatment or prevention of malaria, so other precautionary measures become equally important to keep the infection at bay.
Malarone is best taken at the same time everyday and usually with a milky drink or food. However, if you throw up within an hour of taking in the medicine, it is advisable that you take another dose. On the other hand, if vomiting persists, consult your doctor at the earliest.
The best time to start the medication is to start it a day or two prior to visiting a malaria prone region. This is a precautionary measure so that the disease can be prevented altogether. From then on, take the tablet each day while you are staying in that place and for at least a week after you have left. But, for any reason, if you had to stop the medication early, do get in touch with a healthcare professional to educate yourself on another way of preventing the disease.
Again, if you are taking Malarone for treating malaria, it is recommended that you take the drug every day for three consecutive days. Take the medicine as prescribed for the full length of time. Your symptoms may otherwise, have the chance to get worse unless the infection is fully washed away. Also, to make the protection stronger, use mosquito netting around the bed you sleep on and spray insect repellents in the room you are living in so as to prevent any further mosquito bites that can worsen the condition.
In children, Malarone is prescribed depending on the body weight, in the following manner:
11 to 20 kg - 1 "standard" tablet once every day for 3 consecutive days; 21 to 30 kg - 2 "standard" tablets once every day for 3 consecutive days; 31 to 40 kg - 3 "standard" tablets once every day for 3 consecutive days; 41 kg and above - Adult dosage can be followed
In case of severe Malaria, however, injectable drugs like quinine, artesunate or quinidine are to be used as Malarone may not be very effective.
Drugs Interfering with Malarone
There may be a few drugs which when taken alongside taking Malarone, may interact and interfere with their normal functioning. Some such drugs are as follows -
Malarone should be kept out of reach of children. Keeping it away in a locked cupboard is advised. Make sure you do not forgetfully leave the medicine in the bathroom, on a window, inside the car, or any such place where the children may get an easy access to the medicine.
- The drug is ideally stored in a cool and dry place where temperature is below 30c.
- The medicine is best kept inside its blister pack until you start taking the tablets.
- Any expired or unused Malarone tablet should be returned to the pharmacist.
Malarone Side Effects
Side effects are rare. Some of the minor side effects that are associated with Malarone are
- Difficulty in sleeping (incoherent dreams, nightmares)
- Stomach problems
- Muscle fatigue
- Hard stools