Malarone or Doxy - 12weeks SE Asia - confused??

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Malarone or Doxy - 12weeks SE Asia - confused??

Avatar for Csophc
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Hi,

Im just back from my GP for the second time! And still dont know which tablets to get. She recommended either, and obviously the price is quite a big deciding factor!
Also Doxy has many side effects and im very concerned about having an upset stomach or burning easy in the sun. However the leaflet also shows many effects on Malorine and also says only use for 4 weeks in maleria area.
Has anyone else been told this as the GP didnt mention?

Also any experiences on both tablets would be really appreciated!
thanks guys
Sophie

     
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I’d like to know about this too, I travel in 6 weeks and haven’t even spoken to my GP about them yet. In fairness I haven’t spoken to my GP about anything, everything has been sorted by a nurse :?

I was thinking Doxy because of the price, but I had no idea they could cause you to get sunburnt? That wouldn’t go down well for me, I burn like a bastard as it is.

     
Avatar for Bcambridge
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I heard something about only being able to take malarone for a limited time but I’d check what that is. I took doxycycline when I went to Asia for 2 months last year and had no side effects what so ever- that said one of my friends who took it developed blisters on one of her fingers! I guess the side effects are different for every person so taking doxycycline will always carry that risk of side effects. Maybe you could buy doxycycline and buy malarone abroad if you aren’t getting on well with it?
x

     
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Have you ever read the list of side effects on a pack of paracetamol? Headaches are one of them. The side effects of Doxy you have listed are more common but it doesn’t mean you’ll have any effects.

I’ve taken Doxy every time I’ve travelled to a malarial area. Mostly because it’s cheap and effective, but also because Doxy is also used to prevent travellers diahhorea (bonus!).

First time I was trekking at high altitude. I didn’t have sunscreen on. The air was thinner and I got burnt and had a slight sun rash (which cleared up with some antihistamine cream). The next day I put sunscreen on, in the same conditions but at even higher altitude and I didn’t get burnt.

Another time I took the tablets on an empty stomach (against the advice on the box). It made me vomit. The other times I wore sunscreen and took the tablets after a meal and I had no side effects at all.

As with EVERYTHING medical, there are no guarantees how you are going to react based on your medical history, other medicines you may be taking, your skin type (re: sunburn) and so many other things. You just need to take them as you are instructed on the box or in the leaflet. If you are worried ask your GP to give you a trial of the tablets to see how you get on.

One thing to bear in mind as a female, Doxycycline is an antibiotic, therefore it stops the contraceptive pill from being as effective for 3ish weeks after you start taking it. You will need to take extra precautions against pregnancy.

Tom - you must see your GP for advice really soon. Aside from anything else you may need to wait a week or so to get an appointment, then your GP may want to send you away while he/she considers which/how many tablets you need before calling you back in again to give the prescription. All medical stuff should be organised 8 weeks in advance at the latest.

Malarone still has side effects associated with them so don’t feel like you’re guaranteed a symptom free ride with that. It is only licenced for use for 28 days but your GP can give you prescriptions for longer at his/her discretion. It is very difficult to buy Malarone overseas.

The main drawback that I can see about Doxy is that you must take it for 28 days after leaving a malarial area. If you fail to do this you can still get (and spread) malaria. Many people don’t bother thinking they’ll be okay and get sick. 28 days is psychologically a long time to take pills after you are out of the risk zone.

Oh, and please read this for general advice on malaria prevention:
http://boards.gapyear.com/index.php?op=vt&c=4&f=121&t=491126

     
Avatar for Denton32
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I think Lexi has pretty much covered everything.

I took doxy for both of my SE Asia trips (one for about 3 months, and one for 7 weeks), I’ve never had any side effects that have bothered me. The only thing I noticed was the strange dreams.

Some people become more sensitive to the sun, and yes, you must take it with a meal to prevent nausea (and you can’t lie down for 30 minutes after taking it).

It does prevent travellers diahhorea, which is great. It realllly worked in that way for me!

One thing to bear in mind as a female, Doxycycline is an antibiotic, therefore it stops the contraceptive pill from being as effective for 3ish weeks after you start taking it. You will need to take extra precautions against pregnancy.

It depends what pill you are on - I was on Cerazette the first time (a POP), and doxy had no impact on my pill. I am now on Microlut (an Aussie POP) and doxy had no effect on that either. It depends on your pill, so double check with your GP first.

ALL drugs have side effects. Some people might be more effected by them than others. Doxycycline has worked great for me both times, but then I don’t have any experience of Malerone to compare it to.

I have heard of people who had side effects with Malerone too though, so if it is purely side effects you are concerned about, don’t be. Make sure you get the correct anti-malarial for the region as you have, speak to your GP and make a decision based on that information. Don’t let small side effects dictate which drug you take, if at all.

I’ve met people who don’t take an anti-malarial where they are needed or stopped taking them before the risk period is over, and it’s just stupid.

     
Avatar for Mikeyandthecity
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I opted for Doxy as Malarone was way out of my price range ($1000 for the pills I need? no thanks) and Lariam was not recommend as I am considering spending some time on a few other SE asian countries.

I’m not too worried about the side effects - I’ve had experience with the ~cycline family and it’s quite mild for me.

     
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I went for Doxy and had absolutely no problems, Just do what your doctor tells you and….

- Take it immediately after breakfast
- DO NOT take it before you go to bed (you shouldn’t lie down after Doxy as will make your stomach feel ill!)

If you do this you will have absolutely no problems, I didn’t for the four months I took them and neither did my boyfriend

However I have heard of quite a few people having side effects from malarone

     
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- Take it immediately after breakfast

I’m pretty sure it can be any meal! It doesn’t have to be breakfast! I always took mine after dinner.
(I don’t always have breakfast!)

 

     
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I think they advise breakfast as you are most likely to be walking around after this meal…. really i think the key thing is don’t take it and then lie down!

     
Avatar for Emilli3
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I’ve only ever taken Malarone before (and had zero issues with it), but looking at taking Doxy the next time I travel coz of the price.

I’ve lots of people mention strange dreams on Doxy, but I went away in group, nearly all of us were on malarone, and loads of the others had strange dreams on that as well!! Maybe its something to do with the actual anti-malarials?!

One of my friends burns like crazy normally (so granted was always covered in factor 50!) and she took doxy, with no problems about getting burnt!

     
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Yep, so in conclusion everyone reacts differently and everyone else’s experiences are only relevant to prove that (rather than it having any bearing on whether you will suffer side effects).

Each individual should make up their own mind based on the facts their GP has told them based on their medical history and by that individual weighing up the pros and cons of each tablet.

(Emilli - weird dreams are most commonly associated with Malarone and Lariam, not Doxy, although of course everyone reacts differently so it’s possible)

Lexi

     
Avatar for Csophc
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Thanks for all the info!
So if doxy is used for a diarrohea stopper, does that mean there is the possibility of it making you constipated instead!? I dont want either! x

     
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It is an antibiotic so good at killing bacteria. Google ‘why doxycycline stops travellers diahorrhea’ or read http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/120/6/912.short

It also treats anthrax poisoning and chlamydia amongst hundreds of other things.

As we’ve discussed above, it may or may not cause you any number of symptoms. It could probably cause a million potential side effects but as we have already said, the side effects will vary from person to person.
Google ‘Doxycycline info sheet’ for a list of information about side effects. Then do the same for paracetamol.

     
Avatar for Carmen26
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hey Lexi, youre so knowledgable its amazing! i love reading your tips and advice.
Do you have any good sites to get the Doxy from by any chance and what is a good price to pay?!
I can google all day but still dont really know what im looking for or what price to expect to pay etc..i leave 16th april and plan on staying in thailand and vietnam etc for approx 3 months. x

     
Avatar for Carmen26
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**nevermind lexi - i just seen one of your previous posts on this and have looked on the travpharmacy website etc*** Thanks

     
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Have spoken to my pharmacist who advised me Malarone, and I’m prepared to pay the premium to avoid the worry of the sunburn (fair skinned).

Obviously I want to keep this as cheap as is possible (not very) so would I be OK going from Bangkok to Ko Phangnan and then up to Chiang Mai without taking any anti malarials? Looking at the malaria map for Thailand this seems like it would be ok. That way I could start taking them in Chiang Mai before I head over to Laos and Vietnam?