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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
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  #1  
Old 5 Aug 2010
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Anti malarials

Hi,

I`m in California at the moment and heading for Mexico at the end of August and then on through CA and on to Argentina. Can anyone recommend a good place to pick up some anti malaria tablets before I hit the high risk areas?

Thanks
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Old 5 Aug 2010
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Well yeah: right there in California. Get a scrip, go to the pharmacy, pay whatever it takes.

Or you can eliminate the need for a prescription in Mexico, but might end up with medication which has been mis-handled, therefore rendered less effective. Or not. The cost will be about the same for the same medication.

What's missing from your post is any sense as to whether you understand the substantial differences in the various anti-malarials, including their effectiveness and side effect profiles, and are able to choose an appropriate one for your particular journey. If not, you might want to consult a qualified medical person....which suggests a travel clinic in the States.

Hope that helps.

Mark
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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Thanks Mark,

I know there are lots out there but I`ve only used malarone (in Tanzania) which can only be taken for a short time (and is expensive). I was thinking that of all the people who have done the alaska to argentina trip, someone might be able to give me some guidance based upon their personal experience. Although, I know some just don`t use anti malarials at all. Otherwise, it looks like a trip to a travel clinic!
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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As a case in point, Malarone is indeed expensive....but can be taken for long periods without fear (if you're British you may be following outdated recommendations). It is effective everywhere. The original 30 day limit is defunct.

I took mefloquine, but I'm one of the overwhelming majority who is not bothered by the vivid dreams and other side effects. It's cheaper and has a long half life, therefore a long dosing interval. Doxy is cheap but makes a lot of people, including me, exquisitely photosensitive. Choroquine is ineffective in certain areas. A combination of primaquine and something else which I've forgotten is recommended by the British (but no one else). Derivatives of artemisinin are unavailable in the US and probably counterfeit if you find them in Latin America. Etc.

I'm not trying to be insulting; I'm merely trying to point out that it's not as simple as going on the internet and asking what to do. The answer varies according to where you're going, what you're doing there, how you react to certain medications, and what your risk tolerance is. You need reliable information to make a decision. Look for it on the CDC or WHO sites, not among your fellow motorcyclists.

$0.02, and not a penny more.

Mark
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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Can you give me some idea of the cost of Doxy over there please guys?

Cheers
Pete
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  #6  
Old 6 Aug 2010
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I just bought 6 months supply of doxy in blisterpacks for less than £30 from my UK GP.

Check the shelf life when you get a large amount though!


I recently met someone from southern Africa who said all this tablet taking just doesn't happen down there. They do have a treatment for malaria which is quick, simple (one jab?) and thats it.

Anyone know anything more?

Too good to be true?!
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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£30! I can't find the paperwork but i'm sure I paid over £200 for 2 people for 8 months last year
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Old 11 Aug 2010
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Thanks wiki

Erm.. anyone know for definite whether you can buy malaria tablets in south america?

I was advised by someone I met that he bought C***quine (I'm at work at the mo and cant remember the name). He said it was much cheaper out there than it is in the UK at least...and I'm always interested in saving some money....
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Old 11 Aug 2010
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I knew nothing about this prior to my trip down south last year and learnt about the Malaria problem while travelling through Mexico from a travel friend. I ended up buying the correct prophlactic in Guatamala, cheap as chips. If I remember correctly, I bought 4 months supply for about $5 and I know some people paid up to $80US for the same amount in the states.

In fact, I just checked my blog entry for that day, 29th Oct 2009 and found this

"Of the drugs available locally, one was expensive, the other was cheap. As it turns out, the expensive one had the active component Pirimethmina and sold under the name BIMALAR, but one strain of malaria has become immune to this drug. On the other hand, the cheaper drug, with an active component of Chloroquine and sold here under the name ARALEN is the one that is effective against both malaria strains, so that was a success for the day I bought enough for 4 months (take 2 once a week) and it cost me the measly sum of Q42 or about $5, cheap as chips! "

I hope that is of some help

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Old 11 Aug 2010
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Current prices in the Uk for doxy are £0.12 per 100mg tablet so £30 is about right for 6 months supply
They have dropped by about 8-10p in price recently on some internet sites
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Old 11 Aug 2010
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Richard, there is a lot of chloroquine resistance in Central America. That's why it's not usually recommended for overland travelers.

Taking the wrong antimalarial, as you did, doesn't mean you get malaria--especially in South America, where the problem is not as bad as parts of Asia and Africa. Taking no antimalarial at all doesn't mean you get malaria. It's just a question of stacking the odds.

Mark

(from non-malarial British Colombia)
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Old 11 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Richard, there is a lot of chloroquine resistance in Central America. That's why it's not usually recommended for overland travelers.

Taking the wrong antimalarial, as you did, doesn't mean you get malaria--especially in South America, where the problem is not as bad as parts of Asia and Africa. Taking no antimalarial at all doesn't mean you get malaria. It's just a question of stacking the odds.

Mark

(from non-malarial British Colombia)
Aye, Columbia onwards is Chloroquine resistant according to the advice I have had from my GP, so we have opted to use malarone for the affected parts of our trip (Central/South America), as I get bitten by anything that flies I feel it is money well spent to cut the odds.
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Old 12 Aug 2010
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Mark's advice is spot on.
See a reputable travel clinic doc in the states and buy the drug they recommend from a reputable pharmacy.
Fraudulent drugs and improper storage are rife in the third world and you won't necessarily be given good advice down there either.
Mainstay of prevention is bite avoidance not drugs which are the icing on the cake.
The advice not to worry and get it cured if you get it is, er, unwise. It can kill you quick. Many indigenous peoples have a degree of resistance which is why they can get away with that strategy, sometimes. You won't have that advantage.
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Old 12 Aug 2010
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Well, there you go eh. I did my research and read the posts by other previous travelers and settled on the C because the other did not work, so somewhere along the line I ended up with the wrong one.

No harm done, being a Queenslander I live with mossies all the time and know how to avoid them usually, and I never got bitten much anyway.

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