Anti-Malaria Medication Side Effects

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by AfricaHunting.com, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    What has been your experience with taking anti-malaria medication? I ask this question as I have seen many who travel to Africa who take anti-malaria medication and a sizable percentage who have quite pronounced negative side effects. Some to the point that it actually impacts their hunt. What medication have you taken and what were the side effects if any?
  2. safari gal

    safari gal SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    Jerome, we take Doxycycline 100mg/day as an anti-malarial as it's listed by the CDC. Side effects can be sensitivity to the sun but a good sunscreen will cure that. We only noticed this sensitivity while in extreme temperatures in Tanzania several years ago. Another side effect we have experienced is mild nausea but have found if we take it with our evening meal that seems to resolve it. Doxycycline is an antibiotic so it can aslo aid in treatment of any mild infections during your trip. Another plus is the cost is very reasonable for those that don't have a prescription co-pay.
  3. Highland

    Highland AH Member

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    We've always used Larium and while any effects were mild, I feel like it makes me have some odd emotional swings. Highs higher, lows lower, and the effect seems to last a few months after we return. Really, I am not sure I'm not imagining the whole thing.

    BTW, I never had any of the wild dreams others have reported. No snakes, ladders, Hitler on a broomstick or whatever.

    Anyways, the next time I think I'll use Malerone or Doxy. See what effect, if any, I notice.
  4. mikeh416Rigby

    mikeh416Rigby AH Senior Member

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    I used to use Larium, but I had some problems on several occassions with really wild dreams at night, and extreme high anxiety during the day. It affected me for the entire time I was taking it, and then for about 10 days to two weeks after I stopped. I've since switched to Malarone, and have had no side effects at all.
  5. buckcurtin

    buckcurtin AH Senior Member

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    malarone

    If I spelled it right, I took as prescribed two years ago on a trip to Zim without any side effects. Intend to take again in August on my trip with Charlton McCallum to Makuti. Although Myles said I wouldn't have a problem with mosquitos he did say you don't want to get malaria! Better safe than sorry.
  6. ctulpa

    ctulpa AH Member

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    I hunt all over Africa every year for extended periods in many high Malaria areas. (Including some "malaria hot spots" in Tanzania).
    I have used Lariam (also called Mefloquine) for the past 12 years for 26 safaris and have not had any side effects. Have also used it on extended expeditions into the Amazon jungle in South America and stayed in small villages where almost everyone there had Maleria. So far I have been lucky not to get Malaria.
    I have also used Doxycycline, but prefer the Lariam as it is once per week whereas the doxy is daily.

    Several years ago I had tick fever (Boutonneuse Fever caused by Rickettsia bacteria carried by ticks- also called Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever if caused by a tick in the USA-it is similar but with a subspecies of the Rickettsia bacteria) That was caused by a tick bite from a safari in Zimbabwe. After seeing the CDC doctors on my return to the USA, they diagnosed it and used Doxycycline to knock that out. (My regular doctor could not diagnose it as he had no experience with this type of illness). Symptoms were very high fever for extended periods, extreme joint and muscular pain, nightmares and hallucinations. Symptoms started after about a 10 day incubation and after I returned from my safari. The bite area was on the back of my shoulder and the bite area turned into a black spot the size of a pea. It is rare in the USA to see this and the doctors took many photos of all the spots on different parts of my body for the medial journals. The Rickettsia attacks the red blood cells and causes red spots all over body where it kills the cells.

    Another product that I am starting to see used more for an anti-malaria is Silver liquid compounds. It is clear, with no taste at all. Interesting on my last trip to Uganda some of the others were using it for anti-malaria and they had no trouble with malaria on that trip. I tried it in Uganda this year when I had some fever there and it seemed to help. Can't say for sure if that was a remedy, as I had the fever for about 5 days and then I was fine. There were others in our hunting group this past year that did get malaria. One friend had it for a couple weeks and lost 26 pounds.

    I have been spending so much time in these areas, that I try to wait until I go to areas that I really need the anti-malaria meds. Otherwise would have to take it for months and I really don't want to subject my system to that much Lariam. To be effective, need to take one week before entering the malaria area and then continue until 4 weeks after leaving the area.

    Wonder what else the mosquito or tsetse fly can carry?

    Best solution: don't get bit! Use netting at night.
  7. CK1

    CK1 AH Member

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    Currently taking Malarone for a business trip I'm on. When I take it I feel kind of bloated and blah for a few hours but other than that nothing else. My traveling companion is also taking it and stopped due to his side effect diarrhea.

    CK
  8. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I have used larium before but like others had real wild dreams and some slightly goofy episodes, almost like sleep walking and was easily startled. Was going to take Malarone in Namibia but when we got there the outfitter and guides all laughed and said forget it. Never saw one mosquito. Also its quite expensive. I plan on taking doxycycline for my Zim trip in June and my outfitter at Touch Africa also advises that as stated above it works well against tick fever, besides being much less expensive than some others.
  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Malarone has been prescribed by my doctor. I have not used it, as yet.
    I'll take heart in Sestoppeman's experience in Namibia for my trip there and skip viewing the mosquitos too.
  10. kuduman

    kuduman AH Veteran

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  11. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Most are saying we do not need to worry about this going to south africa.Would you take it to be safe or is this over kill for hunting there.Thanks Billc
  12. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Overkill, South Africa is safe for the season you will be there.
  13. ndbwhnter

    ndbwhnter AH Enthusiast

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    I took doxycyline and noticed no side effects. Was warned to watch out for sunburn, but I was bowhunting out of blinds and wore long sleeve shirts and had no problems. Some told me it was overkill for South Africa too, but we stopped in Dakar, Senegal on the way there to re-fuel the plane and when they opened the doors, we saw tons of mosquitoes come in. They eventually fumigated the plane, but they were flying around for quite awhile before that. Sure was glad I was taking it then. As others have said, it is an antibiotic so it protects against a lot of other stuff at the same time like tick bites, poor quality water, etc.

    nd
  14. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    I've hardly ever seen anyone taking Larium NOT have subtle side effects but mostly, they don't notice them..... The most common/unnoticed are what I call 'Larium moments' where it's almost as though the person simply 'switches off' for a second or two and it concerns me so much, I always advise staff to be extra vigilant if the client is taking Larium. - I'll bet that statement will bring a chorus of denials but I'd suggest you ask someone to watch you when you're on the stuff and see if they notice the same thing.

    With Doxy, the trick to avoid the sunburn thing is to take them in the evening rather than the morning and the sunburn effect is greatly reduced.

    Another thing you need to be very careful of with Doxy, esp if you take it for long periods is the possibility of developing thrush. Doxy is an antibiotic and works by killing bacteria...... both good and bad and by killing the good bacteria, you stand the chance of getting thrush........ and believe me gentlemen, if you get it in your nether regions, it truly is excruciatingly painful and it stays that way for a very long time.

    The way to avoid it is to take regular/large doses of live acidophilis and if you run out of it, then eat plenty of live yoghurt....... if you do get it, apply plenty of thrush cream and incidentally, if you get it badly and have no live acidophilis and/or cream about the only effective pain relief and mild treatment is to apply live yoghurt to the affected part!

    You might laugh at the thought of all this but believe me, you won't laugh at the effect.

    From my experience, Malarone seems to be pretty much side effect free but it is expensive and for some reason, almost impossible to get in my neck of the woods here in Africa.

    Whatever you take, it's worth a degree of discomfort because malaria is a truly awful thing..... I've been lucky enough to avoid it for over 30 years or kicking around Africa but it finally got me last year when I was conducting a safari in Uganda and for a while there, I would have welcomed death! :)
  15. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    Let me add that doxy does indeed help fight tick bite fever but the two best ways to combat that is by spraying your clothes with Bayticol and swapping your shower gel for dog tick and flea shampoo for the duration of your hunt and a week or so after.
  16. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Shakari,

    Your post reminded me of one "goofy" moment I had in Zim in '96. First day of the hunt we were looking for sable and I was plodding along behing the PH and trackers about half awake when a mantis jumped up in front of me and startled the hell out of me! I actually let out a little girl scream and flung my rifle into orbit where it helicoptered into the bush about 20 yards away! I got some pretty strange looks from the PH and trackers as you can imagine. Felt pretty silly but I am convinced that at least part of my reaction was due to the Larium, and I know it gave me wild and vivid dreams and that is a documented side effect.
  17. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    Sounds like Larium or magic mushrooms! :)

    I've seen it affect people in a number of ways and I guess it could well be the Larium as you say.
  18. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Probably a combination of things, lack of sleep, drugs.. Not mushrooms I promise you! Yuk!
  19. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    Kind of a strange question but I am going to SA later this month and this thread relates to one of my problems. I am debating on weather to take the Malaria medication? I am hunting a malaria free zone and just staying in SA. Everyone says that it is not required to have the malaria medication so I am leaning twards not taking it. Just not sure it is worth the risk?
  20. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Your outfitter is the best place to seek advice. When I went to RSA in '09 they said dont bother. It was the Limpopo region, late June early July and I never saw a mosquito. You are going earlier and the weather can make a difference. In winter when it is quite cool there is less chance of problems.

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