Malarone for Malaria

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Malarone for Malaria


Generic NameBrand Name
atovaquone and proguanilMalarone

How It Works

Malarone is a combination medicine that stops the development of parasites in the blood that cause malaria.

To prevent malaria, adults need to take one tablet daily 1 to 2 days before entering an area where malaria is present, continue taking it daily throughout their stay, and then take it for 7 days after they return.1

To treat malaria, adults can take a daily dose of four tablets for 3 days in a row.2

Dosages for children vary depending on body weight.

Why It Is Used

People take Malarone to prevent and treat uncomplicated malaria that is caused by Plasmodium (P). falciparum. Doctors also use Malarone to treat people who have malaria in areas that have chloroquine-resistant or other resistant strains.

How Well It Works

Malarone appears to be effective in the prevention and treatment of malaria caused by P. falciparum, including infections acquired in areas with chloroquine-resistant strains.3

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.

Common side effects of Malarone include:

  • Headache.
  • Belly pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Canker sores (mouth ulcers).
  • Vivid dreams.

Some of the side effects can be reduced by taking Malarone with food.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

You should not take Malarone if you have some types of kidney disease. You may need a creatinine clearance test to test your kidney function before taking Malarone.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Hill DR, et al. (2006). The practice of travel medicine: Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 43(12): 1499–1539.
  2. American Public Health Association (2008). Malaria. In DL Heymann, ed., Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 19th ed., pp. 373–393. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009). Treatment of Malaria (Guidelines for Clinicians). Available online:


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last RevisedMay 14, 2012

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