Available by prescription only, Aralen is a drug used to prevent or treat malaria infections. It is also used to treat another type of infection known as amebiasis. It comes in tablet form and is generally taken for three days to treat malaria. Although most people tolerate it well, side effects are possible and may include things like diarrhea, nausea, and headache.
Aralen® (chloroquine phosphate) is a prescription medication licensed to prevent or treat certain types of malaria infections. It is also used to treat another infection called amebiasis.
Brand-name Aralen is made by sanofi-aventis U.S. Generic versions are made by Global Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and West-Ward Pharmaceutical Corp.
Aralen belongs to a class of medications called antimalarials. It works by killing the parasites that cause infections. Although it is not exactly known how Aralen does this, it is thought that the drug interferes with the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the parasites.
Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with Aralen include the following:
- Aralen comes in tablet form. It is usually taken once a week to prevent malaria, starting two weeks before the anticipated exposure and continuing for eight weeks after leaving the malaria area. To treat malaria, Aralen is taken twice a day for one day and then once a day for two more days. When used for amebiasis, it is taken once a day.
- This medication should be taken with food to prevent stomach upset.
- Although this medication can be crushed, it is extremely bitter tasting. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible solutions to this problem if someone with difficulty swallowing the tablets, such as a child, needs to take this medication.
- Be sure to take Aralen on the same day of the week (if you are taking it weekly) or at the same time each day (if you are taking it daily) to keep an even level in your bloodstream.
- It is important to use protective clothing, bed nets, and insect repellents to protect you from being bitten by mosquitoes in a malaria area. Aralen alone may not prevent infection.
- Make sure you continue to take this medication for the full treatment course, even if you start to feel better. Not finishing the medicine may cause the prevention or treatment to fail.
- No medication is completely effective at treating or preventing malaria. Contact your healthcare provider if you get flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, and muscle aches and pains while in a malaria area, after returning from a malaria area, or after finishing treatment.
- For Aralen to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.