This belongs to the group of medicines known as antimalarials.
Proguanil is used to help prevent malaria. Usually it is used in combination with other antimalarials to increase its effectiveness. It can also be used in combination with other drugs to treat malaria.
Because the pattern of malaria varies with the part of the world you are travelling to, the season and the type of activity you have planned, you should always obtain the latest advice from your doctor, pharmacist or travel organiser. A backpacking trip may well require different preventative measures than a business trip to a city.
Proguanil is available in tablet form.
It is also sometimes known as: Paludrine. You may notice the use of any of these names on the packaging of your medicine.
Before Taking Proguanil
Before taking proguanil make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
if you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding
if you suffer from kidney problems
if you are taking medicine to reduce stomach acid (antacids)
if you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine
if you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines
How to Take Proguanil
Take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor.
Always read the printed information leaflet, if possible before beginning treatment.
Proguanil should ideally be taken for a week before entering a malarial area to ensure there is sufficient medicine in the bloodstream to give you the required protection. (At least two days before entering a malarial area is the minimum length of time).
You must continue to take proguanil throughout your stay and for four weeks after leaving the malaria zone.
Proguanil should be taken with water just after food, and at the same time each day.
You must complete the course of this preparation. If you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember and continue taking it at the usual times. If it is nearly time for your next dose, leave out the missed dose. Never take two doses at the same time to compensate. If in doubt speak to your pharmacist or doctor.
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else has taken an overdose of proguanil contact your doctor or go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Always take the container with you, if possible, even if empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to others even if their needs for malaria prevention seem to be the same as yours.
Getting the most from your treatment
Before taking any ‘over-the-counter’ medicines, check with your pharmacist which medicines are safe for you to take alongside proguanil.
If you feel ill or develop a fever (‘flu like symptoms) while you are travelling or within three months of returning home check with your doctor immediately. It is possible to develop malaria for up to two years after leaving the malarial area. If you develop any fever during that time see your doctor as soon as possible.
If a malaria-carrying mosquito bites you then you could contract malaria. Proguanil helps to prevent malaria developing if you take them properly. If you have diarrhoea or vomiting they may be less effective. You should therefore sleep in properly screened accommodation or sleep with a mosquito netting around your bed.
Using an insecticide spray in your room a couple of hours before going to bed will help, paying particular attention to furniture and under the bed where insects can hide.
Use an insect repellent and wear light coloured clothing that covers most of the body, particularly after sunset as this is when mosquitoes feed.
Can Proguanil cause problems?
Along with their needed effects, all medicines can cause unwanted symptoms, which usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. Speak with your pharmacist or doctor if any of the following symptoms continue or become troublesome.
Mild upset tummy, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, stomatitis (inflammation in the mouth), skin rash or hair loss.
Important: If you develop swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or throat, breathing difficulties with or without swelling, or an itchy rash (similar to nettle rash or hives) stop taking proguanil and see a doctor immediately.
If you experience any other worrying symptoms, which you think may be due to this medicine, not mentioned in this leaflet, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.