what to do about anti-malaria medication?

Archived User

what to do about anti-malaria medication?

I just found your site and am about to burst with excitement and gratitude for all the information and intelligent conversation it contains. THANK YOU!!!!!


I only wish I had found it sooner, as the timeline for having my question answered is rapidly winding up.


I’m searching for information about taking anti-malaria medication during pregnancy.  I'm traveling to Kenya at the end of December, for 2 weeks, and will be 17.5 weeks pregnant at the time we land in Nairobi. During the trip we’ll spend about a week to 10 days in a rural area near Kisumu visiting my partner's family. December is the dry season, but not entirely, and I’m still trying to get information about the current presence of malaria in the area.


The main questions I’m trying to answer are: do the risks of taking anti-malarial medication outweigh the risks of contracting Malaria (could it be sufficient to be very serious about other protective measures such as deet soaked bednets, citronella, staying near fire, etc?)  If I do need to take an anti-malarial, which is the safest regime to take?


As far as chemoprophylaxis goes, I’ve been recommended 3 different routes:

1.  Larium/Mefloquin – Taken 2 weeks before arrival in malarial area, once a week while there, and for 4 weeks upon returning. (I have taken it during past travels and been fine, but I'm concerned about taking it during pregnancy.)

2.  Larium/Mefloquin – taken as above, but supplemented with primaquine upon returning, either later in pregnancy or after delivery since apparently Larium only prevents blood-born malaria from getting stored in the liver and not other forms (such as cerebral malaria, etc).

3. Sulfadoxine 500 mg + pyrimethamine 25 mg, two doses, taken 1 month apart, only after quickening.

4. Decide not to take any chemoprophylaxis at all, but being very serious about other protective measures (bednets, using citronella, staying near fire, etc).


I'm really struggling to find thorough info on this, and am so grateful for any information or opinions Henci or anyone else can offer. If I do decide to go the Larium route, I need to take my first dose in about 1 week! (gulp)


Thank you so much for your help,


Henci Goer

RE: what to do about anti-malaria medication?
(in response to Archived User)

Thank you for your kind words. Anti-malarial treatment during pregnancy is not something I've ever researched, but I went to Medline Plus, the consumer health information website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and found this article on malaria and pregnancy. I hope it is helpful. If you are trying to decide among treatment regimens, ask your doctor to provide the sources supporting the ones you have been recommended and go over them with you.

-- Henci 

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Please note that this Forum is intended to help women make informed decisions about their care. The content is not a substitute for medical advice.