Long time since we spoke. My son, Mike is going to Africa and we were talking about malaria meds. When we traveled with you, many years ago, you gave me the name of a med I bought in London as the current US brand caused nightmares. Is that still the case and what do you now suggest is the best?
A: Lariam is the drug you’re recalling, and yes it’s still available and widely prescribed, and yes, I still suggest you look for something else. My own personal experience and that of many colleagues is that it just produces too many side effects. On my last two safaris, in fact, people who were using it reacted so badly both stopped using it in the middle of the safari, which isn’t good. Once you start a malaria prevention regimen, you ought not in the middle stop or switch.
There are other options, but I can’t recommend one over the other because it depends very much upon the medical health history of the person involved. It’s really absolutely something that you should see your personal physician about.
I love reading your web site.
I have taken Doxycycline for malaria preventative. Dr. says take one a day 2 days before malaria area, one a day whilst on safari and for 4 weeks after getting home. I like it because it has never shown me any side effects at all. Other have said the same.
Thanks for your comment and indeed Doxycycline may work for you and others. But its “efficacy” — its effectiveness — is only about half that of the other malaria drugs, so that’s the trade-off. Less toxic, more easily consumed, but it means you have to take additional precautions to physically protect yourself from mosquitoes. And of course, Doxycycline greatly increases sun sensitivity, so especially here on the equator, that means additional sun protection.
I have taken Lariam/Mefloquine for years and years and have never once had a negative side effect. I know Jim hates it and some people do have some issues with it. If I had not had such positive experience with Mefloquine, I would recommend Malarone – I’ve heard good things about it.