Dr Clare Morrison

Article by Dr Clare Morrison

Malarone During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Preventing malaria is extremely important when travelling to areas where there is a risk of this disease. There are many anti-malarials available and one of them is Malarone. Malarone is a once daily dose regimen and has the shortest duration of treatment in comparison to the rest of the anti-malarials. It should be taken one to two days before travelling to risk area, continued during your stay and for only one week after returning from the malarious region.

During pregnancy, it is vital to protect yourself and the unborn child from malaria to prevent  miscarriage, or even still birth. If possible, pregnant women should be advised to avoid travelling to areas where malaria is a risk. If this is not possible, then taking extra precaution is absolutely necessary for both mother and baby, to prevent this fatal disease. Since the safety of Malarone during pregnancy has not been recognised yet, it is best to avoid it and take other alternatives, such as Proguanil (Paludrine being the brand name).

The benefit of taking Proguanil to prevent malaria is known to outweigh the risks. If there is a chance that you could get pregnant whilst on Malarone tablets, extra precaution as contraception is required to prevent pregnancy. In addition, the precautions below should be considered:

  • Using mosquito repellents and sleeping under mosquito nets
  • DEET (Diethyltoluamide) – 20-50 percent in lotions, sprays, or roll-on formulations is safe and effective when applied to the skin – even for pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Long sleeves and trousers after dusk also provide protection

Malarone during breastfeeding

Malarone should only be taken if there are no other suitable alternatives available. An alternative can be Proguanil as the amount present in breast milk would probably be too small to be harmful. Breast-feeding women are strongly recommended to consider protecting themselves from mosquito bites, as discussed above.

Side effects of Malarone

Like all medicines, Malarone also comes with side effects. However, not everyone experiences these, but if you get the common side effects, then they can be avoided by taking Malarone with or after food. Common side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cough
  • Rash
  • Insomnia

If you have any more questions, contact one of our friendly team for more information.

Dr Clare Morrison
Dr Clare Morrison
Experienced General Practitioner in Hampshire since 1995, with particular interest in Nutrition, Obesity and Smoking Cessation.
Originally published January 20 2014, updated October 06 2018