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What Is Atovaquone/Proguanil Used For?

Preventing and treating malaria are the two main uses of atovaquone/proguanil. Specifically, the medication is prescribed for uncomplicated cases of malaria that are caused by a specific type of parasite. Even if you are taking this drug as a precaution when traveling, it's still important to take steps to reduce your contact with mosquitoes, such as by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved clothing.

An Introduction to the Uses of Atovaquone/Proguanil

Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone®) is a prescription medication licensed to treat uncomplicated malaria infections. It is also approved to help prevent malaria infections from occurring in the first place.

Using Atovaquone/Proguanil to Treat Malaria

Malaria is a blood infection caused by a microscopic parasite called Plasmodium. It is a leading cause of death and disease worldwide, especially in developing countries. Although there are more than 100 species of Plasmodium, only four types infect humans.
These four types include:
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Plasmodium ovale
  • Plasmodium malariae.
Most people get malaria from the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Less commonly, the disease is spread through contact with infected blood. Malaria is not transmitted from person to person, like the common cold or the flu. You cannot get the disease from casual contact with an infected person (see Malaria Causes for more information).
Malaria symptoms typically begin 10 to 30 days after someone becomes infected. The disease can be categorized as uncomplicated or complicated, based on how severe the symptoms are. Symptoms range from mild in uncomplicated malaria to severe and life-threatening in complicated cases. Early or uncomplicated symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Sweats
  • Shaking chills
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
If the disease progresses, malaria may become complicated or severe. Severe malaria symptoms may include:
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizures
  • Mental confusion
  • Coma
  • Severe anemia
  • Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Bleeding due to blood clotting problems
  • Death.
Atovaquone/proguanil is one of several medications used to treat malaria. In particular, it is approved to treat uncomplicated malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum.
The key to malaria treatment is starting early. With early treatment, malaria can be cured and the serious complications can be prevented. If treatment is delayed, however, it can be a severe, potentially fatal disease (see Malaria Treatment for more information).

Atovaquone/Proguanil Drug Information

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