Drugs associated with malaria prevention in Kenya

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The following drugs and medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of Malaria Prevention. Antimalarial medications are designed to prevent or cure malaria. Such drugs may be used for some or all of the following:

  • Treatment of malaria in individuals with suspected or confirmed infection
  • Prevention of infection in individuals visiting a malaria-endemic region who have no immunity (malaria prophylaxis)
  • Routine intermittent treatment of certain groups in endemic regions.

The most common antimalarial drugs are;

  • Quinine and related agents
  • Chloroquine
  • Amodiaquine
  • Pyrimethamine
  • Proguanil
  • Sulphonamides
  • Mefloquine
  • Atovaquone
  • Primaquine
  • Artemisinin & Derivatives
  • Halofantrine
  • Doxycycline
  • Clindamycin

However, the first line drug for malaria in Kenya is artemisinin and its derivatives. Artemisinin is a chines herb which has a rapid action and the vast majority of acute infection show significant recovery within a shorter period of time.

Artemether is a methyl ether derivative of dihydroartemesinin. It is similar to artemesinin in mode of action but demonstrates a reduced ability as a hypnozoiticidal compound, instead acting more significantly to decrease gametocyte carriage. Similar restrictions are in place, as with artemesinin, to prevent the development of resistance, therefore it is only used in combination therapy for severe acute cases of drug-resistant P. falciparum. It should be administered in a 7 day course with 4 mg/kg given per day for 3 days, followed by 1.6 mg/kg for 3 days. Side effects of the drug are few but include potential neurotoxicity developing if high doses are given.

Artesunate is a hemisuccinate derivative of the active metabolite dihydroartemesinin. Currently it is the most frequently used of all the artemisinin-type drugs. Its only effect is mediated through a reduction in the gametocyte transmission. It is used in combination therapy and is effective in cases of uncomplicated P. falciparum. The dosage recommended by the WHO is a 5 or 7 day course (depending on the predicted adherence level) of 4 mg/kg for 3 days (usually given in combination with mefloquine) followed by 2 mg/kg for the remaining 2 or 4 days. In large studies carried out on over 10,000 patients in Thailand no adverse effects have been shown.

Finally, malaria prevention is important as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

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