Meds and you

30 September 2013

Proguanil

Proguanil is an anti-malarial. Anti-malarials are drugs that are prescribed to prevent the development of malaria.

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Proguanil is only available in combination with atovaquone.

General information
Proguanil is an anti-malarial. Anti-malarials are drugs that are prescribed to prevent the development of malaria.

In South Africa proguanil is no longer available as a product on its own, but is available as an essential component of the combination of proguanil and atovaquone. This combination is prescribed for the prevention of drug-sensitive and drug-resistant plasmodium falciparum.

For this type of medication to be effective, it has to be taken regularly. Missing a dose may increase your risk of getting malaria. It is furthermore advised to take additional precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, such as using mosquito repellants, wearing protective clothing, and sleeping under mosquito nets.

How does proguanil work?
Proguanil inhibits an enzyme essential for plasmodium parasites (which causes malaria) to reproduce. By inhibiting this enzyme, proguanil prevents any malarial parasites that have entered the red blood cells from multiplying and in this way prevents the disease from developing.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 2
Available as: proguanil is available as tablets (in combination with atovaquone).
What does it do? Proguanil is used for the prevention of malaria.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: low
Is proguanil available as a generic? no
Is proguanil available on prescription only? no

User information

Onset of effect: within 4 hours
Duration of action: up to 40 hours
Dietary advice: proguanil should best be taken after a meal.
Stopping this medicine: complete the course as directed by your doctor.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have liver or kidney disease
  • you are currently suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting
  • you are taking other medication

Pregnancy: It is presumed safe and is one of the least toxic anti-malarial drugs available. You should however consult your doctor before use.
Breastfeeding: It is presumed safe and is one of the least toxic anti-malarial drugs available. You should however consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: This medication is safe for use.
Infants and children: use only as directed by your paediatrician.
The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.
Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness or light-headedness. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: keep alcohol consumption low.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
diarrhoea
X

X

nausea/vomiting
X

X

abdominal pain

X
X

loss of appetite
X

X

thirst

X
X

mouth ulcers

X
X

dizziness

X
X

hair loss

X

X
skin rash

X

X

Interactions

Drug interactions

warfarin increased risk of bleeding
magnesium trisilicate-containing products reduced absorption and effect of proguanil
fluvoxamine reduced effect of proguanil
chloroquine increased incidence of mouth ulcers

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 
 

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