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Treatment of Malaria

treatment of malaria

Malaria can be a fatal disease and treatment should be initiated as soon as possible.

Malaria disease should be diagnosed and treated promptly to avoid serious complications and in some cases, death. Malaria is a completely preventable and treatable disease. The primary objective of treatment is to rapidly eliminate the Plasmodium parasite from the patient’s bloodstream. To reduce the risk of disease transmission in the general public, those who are asymptomatic might also be treated for infection. Treatment of malaria depends on numerous factors including disease severity, the type (species) of malaria parasite causing the infection and the part of the world in which the infection was acquired. Malaria, particularly P. Falciparum (severe malaria), is a medical crisis that more often than not requires a hospital stay.

The types of medication and the duration of treatment will differ, depending on:

  • Which type (species) of malaria parasite you have
  • Your clinical status and the severity of your symptoms
  • Your age
  • Pregnancy
  • Drug resistance (usually determined by the area where the infection was acquired)
  • Existing illnesses or condition (medications taken by patient)
  • Drug allergies

In hospital care may include but are not limited to medication and fluids through a vein (IV) and respiratory support.

Medications used in treating malaria infection;

  • Aralen (Chloroquine)
  • Qualaquin (Quinine sulfate, quinidine)
  • Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine)
  • Lariam (Mefloquine)
  • Malarone (Combination of atovaquone and proguanil)
  • Coartem (Artemether-lumefantrine)
  • Artesunate (Available through CDC malaria hotline even though not licensed for use in the United States)

The history of antimalarial medication proofed to be a continuous struggle between developing drug-resistant parasites and the search for innovative medicine formulations. In many parts of the world resistance to chloroquine has rendered the drug unsuccessful.

From a communal health perception, treatment is meant to diminish transmission of the infection to others, by reducing the transferable reservoir and by preventing the surfacing and spread of resistance to antimalarial medicines.

Primaquine is active against the dormant parasite which may be lodged in the liver and prevents relapses. Primaquine should never be taken by pregnant women or by people who are deficient in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. (G6PD). It is advisable that all people take a screening test to exclude G6PD deficiency prior to using primaquine.

Anti-malaria drugs are widely obtainable, but further challenges lie ahead in order to eradicate the disease.

Conditions that might arise as a result of delaying medical treatment;

  • The red blood cells are not capable to carry enough oxygen to the body’s organs and muscles which leads patient to feel weak and drowsy.
  • Cerebral complications. Occur when malaria affects the brain. The brain may swell which often cause permanent brain damage. Swelling of the brain often leads to seizures and coma.

Pregnant women are at risk of premature birth, stillbirth, miscarriage, restricted growth of the baby in the womb and in some cases the mother may lose her life. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed positively with malaria infection, it is considered a medical emergency and immediate treatment could mean the difference between life and death.

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