What is Malarone?
Malarone is a medication that stops you from developing malaria (also known as an ‘antimalarial’). When you take Malarone, it stops the parasite that causes malaria from replicating itself in the body. It’s thought to work in most regions in the world where malaria is present, and be around 98-100% effective at preventing infection .
It’s a branded tablet, but there’s a generic version too that’s called ‘Atovaquone/proguanil’ (which is the name of the two active ingredients in it).
You’ll start taking Malarone two days before you arrive in a malaria risk zone, and take it daily while you’re there. When you leave, you’ll keep taking it for seven days after you return. This is because it can take seven days after a mosquito bite for malaria to ‘incubate’ in the body.
How does Malarone work?
Malarone protects you from malaria, an infection caused by mosquitos. Mosquitos in some areas carry a plasmodium parasite, which can enter your blood when they bite you. This parasite can then travel through your bloodstream to your liver, where it multiplies. Without treatment, the malaria infection may then spread to your red blood cells.
Malarone has two active ingredients, called atovaquone and proguanil. They work together to stop the malaria parasite from reproducing in your liver, so it weakens and limits the infection. It does this by destroying an enzyme called ‘dihydrofolate reductase’ (DHFR for short). This enzyme helps malaria to copy itself and spread. Once this enzyme is subdued, the parasite becomes weaker, and your immune system can then fight off any remaining infection.
What doses of Malarone are there?
There’s an adult dose for Malarone to prevent malaria, which is one tablet per day (250mg of atovaquone and 100mg of proguanil). This is the standard dose no matter which area you’re travelling to.
There’s also a paediatric version that contains a quarter of the dose (62.5mg and 25mg) and how much a child takes depends on their weight. We don’t offer this dose, so if you’re looking for malaria prevention treatment for a child, we recommend visiting a travel clinic.
If you’re treating malaria rather than preventing it with Malarone, the dose is higher. But if you have malaria you’ll need to be admitted to hospital and have your infection monitored.