How is malaria treated?

To begin treating malaria, doctors must first know what type of parasite has caused the disease. Depending on the area where the infection took place, some of these parasites can be resistant to certain drugs.

It is important to start treatment as soon as possible. Malaria can be deadly, and treatment is more effective when it is started early.

Malaria drugs can be taken orally (by mouth) or through an intravenous (IV) line. IV drugs are recommended for those who cannot take medications orally or for patients who are severely ill.

What are the side effects of treatment for malaria?

Side effects of some drugs used to treat malaria include:

  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Mouth ulcers

What complications are associated with malaria?

Untreated malaria can cause death, so it’s important to seek treatment immediately.

The development of drug-resistant parasites is also a serious worry in the treatment of malaria. Some of these parasites are now able to survive and multiply despite anti-malarial drugs. To successfully treat malaria, it is important to tell your doctor what areas you have traveled to and when you were there.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/10/2017.


  • World Health Organization. International Travel and Health Accessed 5/17/2017.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Malaria Accessed 5/17/2017.
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Malaria Accessed 5/17/2017.

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