anti-malarial medications

Too Many Antimalarials? Here is the Deal

If I got a dollar every time somebody said, “Amatem no dey work for me na Lonart dey work”, I’d be called Elon Musk by now.

Many people don’t understand that though there are several brands of antimalarials most of them contain the same active ingredients.

The different combinations are called Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT). They are recommended for the treatment of malaria as opposed to the single drug therapy like Chloroquine for which the parasites have developed resistance to.

The Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapies include:
Atovaquone/Proguanil Malarone
Artemether/Lumefantrine Coartem, Amatem, Lonart, Arenax
Dihydroartemisinin/Piperaquine Waipa, Remal, P-Alaxin
Arterolane maleate/Piperaquine Synriam
Artesunate/Amodiaquine Camosunate
Artesunate/Pyronaridine Pyramax
Artesunate/Mefloquine Artequin

It can be observed that most of the popular brands contain the same active ingredients. Therefore, if a brand doesn’t seem to work for you, then there is a 99% chance that another brand containing the same active ingredient will not also work.

This could either be because you’re not taking the drug as recommended or you’ve developed resistance to that combination.

In addition to seeking the guidance of a Pharmacist (after all they are the medicines Guru) when choosing an antimalarial it is also recommended that you get your medications from a reputable Pharmacy, to eliminate the problem of counterfeit/substandard medicines.

Nigeria has the highest-burden for global malaria cases, as a result, a lot of companies have taken advantage of this to import substandard or fake antimalarials into the country as they know there is a great market for it.

Now, one may say that the single agents like Chloroquine and Artesunate are affordable as compared to the ACT medications. If we consider the consequences that are associated with treating malaria using the single agents:

For example, Drug resistance by the malaria parasite is much more common with these types of therapies. There might also be a longer hospital stay (overall you would spend more) and death is a possibility in the event of treatment failure.

Artemisinin Combination therapies are the best option for the treatment of malaria.

Let’s get this straight; Not all body aches and fever are malaria. Proper diagnosis, where the parasites in the blood film are viewed with a microscope is the gold standard before treatment of malaria.

This helps to prevent unnecessary drug use. So, before you take another antimalarial ensure you do a blood or rapid diagnostic test for malaria.

When dealing with antimalarials, the major concern should be on the composition of the medication rather than on the brand. This will serve as a better guide to choosing the right antimalarial that works for you.

Again, ask your pharmacist for any clarification you need.

Maduelosi Blessing (B.Pharm UPH)