Which drug is better for kids for anti-malaria – Malarone or Mefloquine. I have heard about lot of side-effects of Mefloquine. So, which is a safer drug out of these two or is there any other drug with no side-effects? Is it important to take anti-malaria pills keeping in mind the side-effects?
Both drugs are considered safe for children, though Malarone (atovaquone-proguanil) should not be given to pregnant women or those nursing a child under 5kg. Malarone is also available in a pediatric form in some places, where the dose is reduced specifically for prescription to children under 40kg in weight. Personally, I took both Malarone and mefloquine (as Lariam) when I was a child, and experienced no side effects from either, though certainly many more people do report side effects from mefloquine, including disturbed sleep and hallucinations, or increased anxiety, and it is therefore not recommended for people with a history of psychiatric illness or disorders.
If this does not apply to you or your children, then it really is a matter of preference, cost and practicality. Malarone is generally more expensive than Lariam, needs to be taken every day, but only needs to be taken a few days before departing for the malarial area and for only one week after you return. Lariam, on the other hand, is only taken weekly (which can be an advantage with small children), but needs to be started 2 weeks before travel and for 4 weeks afterwards, which can make it less convenient for short trips.
The other thing to consider, finally, is where you are going—some forms of malaria found in south-east Asia are resistant to mefloquine, meaning it is not a suitable anti-malarial for travel in those areas, so Malarone would be a better choice in that circumstance. Both mefloquine and Malarone are suitable for travel in all other malarial areas.