(1)What drug is administered in the first 24 hours after malaria symptoms onset. What side effects have this/these drugs.
(2) I it is not possible to reach a treatment facility etc until 7 days after initial chills, fever etc and there are no symptoms remaining other than tiredness what is the drug of choice?. Local people say it is malaria but there is no diagnostic facility near the location until a week has passed.
The person in question is visiting in Burkina Faso where malaria is endemic. Standard anti malaria treatment was taken, but we are told that this is not always effective.
1) In most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, due to the spread of chloroquine-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum (the most widespread and deadly form of malaria), the first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria infection are artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACTs) drugs, which combine artemisinin or a derivative (such as artemether) with another anti-malarial drug.
One very common combination is artemether with lumefantrine, which is often marketed as Coartem. ACTs have few common side effects, and very few severe ones, but mild side effects which are reported include nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite and vomiting. One severe side effect that has been reported is allergic reaction.
2) If a patient has had suspected malaria but seems to have recovered, they should probably present themselves to a clinic or physician for a blood test. This will determine whether the patient is still currently suffering from malaria; if so, they will probably still be treated with Coartem or another ACT as above. If there is no trace of the malaria parasites in the blood, the patient might want to try a rapid diagnostic test which looks for antibodies to the malaria parasite; this will tell them if they did in fact have malaria before. Some tests can also differentiate between Plasmodium falciparum and other forms of malaria.
This is important because if they test positive for P. vivax or P. ovale, there is a possibility that the malaria parasites are still present in the liver, in a dormant form, even once all the parasites are gone from the blood stream. In this case, the patient may want to consider talking to their doctor about taking primaquine, which kills the dormant liver stages of the parasites.
People with G6PD deficiency cannot take primaquine so in some cases a G6PD deficiency test may be required first. If the patient is found to have had Plasmodium falciparum, but no active infection appears in the blood, they should still monitor their health carefully for several weeks, and perhaps take malaria preventative medication such as doxycycline or Malarone; even after symptoms cease, in some cases a small number of P. falciparum parasites can remain in the blood, at concentrations too low to be seen under the microscope, but which can then flare up at a later date and cause symptoms to reappear. This is called recrudescence; once symptoms reappear, the patient should immediately seek a diagnosis from the doctor to confirm it is malaria, and then take treatment.