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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.

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. [78] 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]

But your child shouldn't take doxycycline to prevent malaria if they are under 12 years old. It could damage their bones or teeth. [79]

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.

Citations

For references related to Malaria prevention click here.
Last Updated: February 17, 2011
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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