How is malaria treated?

Treatment for malaria should start as soon as possible. To treat malaria, your provider will prescribe drugs to kill the malaria parasite. Some parasites are resistant to malaria drugs. The type of medication and length of treatment depend on which parasite is causing your symptoms.

Antimalarial drugs include:

  • Artemisinin drugs (artemether and artesunate).
  • Atovaquone (Mepron®).
  • Chloroquine.
  • Doxycycline (Doxy-100®, Monodox®, Oracea®).
  • Mefloquine.
  • Quinine.

What are the side effects of medications to treat malaria?

Antimalarial drugs can cause side effects. Be sure to tell your provider about other medicines you’re taking, since antimalarial drugs can interfere with them. Depending on the medication, side effects may include:

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as nausea and diarrhea.
  • Headaches.
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Insomnia and disturbing dreams.
  • Psychological disorders and vision problems.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Seizures.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/20/2020.

References

  • Merck Manuals. Malaria. Accessed 8/20/2020.
  • Centers for Disease Control. Malaria. Accessed 8/20/2020.
  • National Organization for Rare Disorders. Malaria. Accessed 8/20/2020.

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