T Nation

Malaria Pills


#1

Has anyone every taken these before? I'm heading to Afghanistan in a few months and we're going to be required to take them. I know that in Iraq a few guys in my unit got sick when taking them so most people stopped using them. Anyway, anyone in the military have experience taking these over there? Thanks in advance.


#2

The 2 most common pills being used are doxycycline and mefloquine. Doxy is must be taken daily and is usually only used for short deployments or areas where there is mefloquine resistance (Thailand), while mefloquine is taken on a weekly basis. Both have some side effects.

I was on mefloquine while I was in Afghanistan. With mefloquine the most common complaint is sleep disturbances. It really doesnt make anyone "sick" (or at least that I have ever heard of). Personally I think that malaria would make you more sick than taking either doxy or mef.

You can apply some sense to it though. Such as: if you are in the mountains with 3 feet of snow on the ground for an extended period of time, you probably wont get bit by mosquitoes. However if you travel between the mountains and "low ground" then you need to take it.

Your doc should give you guidelines as to how far out to begin and how long after to end your cycle on the med.
Hope that helps a little.


#3

Thanks, that helps a lot. Yeah, I'd rather have some side affects from the drugs than malaria.


#4

Doxy is a low-dose antibiotic that happens to prevent malaria. Side effects: makes you less resistant to sun burn and if you don't take with food you'll probably puke or want to puke. I've seen a few people puke about an hour after taking it w/ no food. Bad part about Doxy is you have to take it every day. I used Doxy for my Iraq deployments with nothing more severe than an upset stomach every now and then.

Mefloquine is not an antibiotic, it's a drug used exclusively for malaria prevention. I'm on mefloquine now in Afghanistan and I like it alot more if only for the fact that you only have to take it once a week, I take it on 'mefloquine mondays' (I'm a Marine so I keep it simple). The downside to mefloquine is some people get adverse, hallucinatory reactions to it. In fact the British troops/Marines I'm with aren't allowed to take mefloquine for more than 4 months at a time due to what they have found to be 'permanent, negative effects' on the body. They didn't know what these 'effects' were. Just that it's tough on the body.

Right now I'm going on month 4 taking mefloquine along w/ vitamins, creatine, protein supplements and feel as fine as I can in this environment. I actually enjoy the dreams associated w/ a nighttime dose of ZMA and mefloquine.


#5

My wife took a quinine derivative for Lupus. It gave her terrible headaches.


#6

Doxycycline made me quite light sensitive two out of three tours the third I said screw it. I was in Baghdad the most and there were quite a bit of mosquitoes around but never heard of anyone contracting malaria so I took my chances. Probably not the smartest route.

When I worked for Halliburton we were never offered either only typhoid pills and we were in close quarters with soldiers who had recieved them. The problem with doxy is that if you don't take it exactly how your supposed to daily for thirty days I believe is recommended its not worth shit becasue you have to build sufficient levels for it to be effective


#7

taking doxy at night cuts back on a lot of the photo-sensitivity (light bothering the eyes and sunburn).

Never heard of the 4 month limit for mef. I took it for 9 months before, right now taking it for only 4 but only because its a 4 month deployment. The only people who have been proven to have actual hallucinations with it or similar problems are those that have been treated in the past for depression or other psych issues; unless sleep disturbances and very vivid dreams count as hallucinations.


#8

I much preferred the Mefloquine. You only have to take it once a week. I've never had any side effects other than some crazy dreams the first few nights after taking it for the first couple of weeks. To me, doxy is a pain in the ass because you have to take it everyday.

Not bad if you are in the rear, but a huge hassle when on a patrol. On my last trip they gave everyone doxy, no matter what they preferred, luckily my doc had stashed away some Mef from the trip before.

I've taken Mef for almost two years straight, and have had no problems in subsequent physicals with blood work or anything else.