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Anti-malaria drugs for children

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Different anti- malaria medicines are recommended for different areas. You need to check with a doctor or nurse which medicine works best for the country you are visiting. You may not be able to get an NHS prescription for anti-malaria drugs. You may need to pay for a private prescription. Your doctor or nurse can tell you how much this will cost.

Low doses of anti-malaria drugs can protect children from malaria. Most anti-malaria medicines seem to be safe for children, except for doxycycline. Doxycycline should not be used by children younger than 12 years. It could damage their bones or teeth. [78]

Many years of experience with chloroquine have shown that this drug works well if it's used in an area where the parasite hasn't become resistant to it. [48] But we need more research to know for certain which anti-malaria drugs are best for children.

We found one study (a randomised controlled trial) that showed that both atovaquone with proguanil (Malarone) and chloroquine with proguanil (Avloclor and Paludrine) prevent malaria in children. [79] But about 1 in 3 children who took these medicines had mild side effects, such as diarrhoea, stomach ache, vomiting, nausea, or mouth ulcers.

Children seem to get fewer side effects from mefloquine (Lariam) than adults do. [59]

You can get chloroquine as a liquid, which may be easier for your child to take. Mefloquine and proguanil are tablets. But you could crush them and put them in your child's food to make them easier to swallow.

Atovaquone with proguanil comes as a tablet at one quarter of the adult dose. Your doctor will tell you how many tablets your child should take each day. This will depend on how much your child weighs.

Glossary

randomised controlled trials

Randomised controlled trials are medical studies designed to test whether a treatment works. Patients are split into groups. One group is given the treatment being tested (for example, an antidepressant drug) while another group (called the comparison or control group) is given an alternative treatment. This could be a different type of drug or a dummy treatment (a placebo). Researchers then compare the effects of the different treatments.

For more terms related to Malaria prevention

Citations

For references related to Malaria prevention click here.
Last Updated: June 07, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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