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Malaria: treatment

Malaria treatment is guided by the species of parasite infecting the patient. Combination therapy is required to help eradicate the parasite and prevent the development of resistance to antimalarials.

Malarone (Sheila Terry/Science Photo Library)


Patients who have malaria are treated according to the causative parasite. Generally, those with Plasmodium falciparum infection experience more severe illness and should receive treatment in hospital where they can be monitored closely. Patients with non-falciparum infection can be treated as outpatients.

Oral quinine in combination with doxycycline or clindamycin, Malarone or Riamet can be used for the treatment of non-severe P falciparum infection, with intravenous quinine and artesunate being reserved for severe and complicated illness. Non-falciparum infection can be treated orally with chloroquine and relapse prevented using primaquine.

Orla Geoghegan is specialist pharmacist (antimicrobials) at Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and Imogen Clarke is specialist registrar (infectious diseases/ microbiology) at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust.


Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2014.11136625

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