Antimalarial Drugs – Side Effects

Depending on antimalarial side effects may vary. This is why we have listed several antimalarials and their side effects below?

Mefloquine side effects

  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, insomnia, vivid dreams. Continue the course unless these side effects become unbearable.
  • Dizziness, loss of balance, and ringing in the ear. Discuss with you pharmacist or doctor if you are involved in activities that require a high degree of alertness, sense of balance or performance of skilled tasks. These side effects can occur at any time during drug use and can last for months to years after the drug is stopped or can be permanent. If you experience these symptoms stop taking Mefloquine immediately and see your doctor for an alternative anti-malaria medication.
  • Rare side effects: acute anxiety, depression, restlessness, confusion, severe dizziness, hallucinations. If you experience these symptoms stop taking Mefloquine immediately and see your doctor for an alternative anti-malaria medication.
  • Most side effects from this medication usually occur before the second dose.

​Atovaquone / Proguanil (Malarone®) side effects

  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, diarrhoea. If you experience such symptoms, please continue unless side effects become intolerable.

Doxycycline side effects

  • Sunburn due to sunlight sensitivity, therefore try to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and use sunscreen.
  • Nausea or diarrhoea. This is minimised by taking the medication with a meal.
  • Inflammation of the oesophagus. Avoid lying down for half an hour after taking medication.
  • Space the medication apart from iron supplements and antacids as it impairs the absorption of the medication.

Chloroquine side effects

  • ​Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, insomnia, dizziness, visual disturbances, itchy skin. Continue the course unless these side effects become unbearable.
  • Although uncommon, chloroquine may lower your blood glucose level; seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, feeling hungry, nervous or anxious.​

Remember, antimalarial side effects may vary from drug to drug. Always consult the doctor before taking it.

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