Do I need anti-malaria tablets?

Hi all. I have a trip to Cambodia planned for August and I debating on whether to put myself through the torture of anti-malarial medication. My doctor has advised that it is better to be safe than sorry, but the last holiday on which I medicated against malaria was ruined by the constant nausea it induces. Does anybody have any thoughts on this? Or on visiting Cambodia in general?

Been to Cambodia twice. Angkor Wat is stunning, worth the trip but make sure you go to a few of the smaller temples that are less visited not just the main one and the Bayon.

Phnom Penh is more dangerous than other SEA cities. Don’t take your phone out on the back of a tuk tuk, you risk it being snatched by someone on the back of a motorbike. Also wouldn’t recommend walking alone in most areas after 10pm or so, get a taxi or go in a group.

As for Anti-malarials, Take a look at this map:

Siem Reap, Tonle Sap and Phnom Penh rated low to no risk. Personally I wouldn’t take them unless I was going up to the border areas in the north east. If you decide to take them then there is a bunch of different ones, tell your doctor which one made you nauseous last time and ask for a different one. Do make sure you cover up and apply a good strong mosquito repellent with DEET, Malaria is not the only worry, Dengue is around as well.

Was there in Dec and Jan, and as the previous poster mentioned, where you will be, the risk is actually quite low.

The mosquitoes carrying malaria only bite after dark, I believe, so we just used bug spray when not in the city proper, and going out in the evening.

You’re going to have a remarkable time, it’s an amazing journey!

( two recommendations: both for Siem Reap, hotel: Jasmine Family Hotel (not to be confused with Jasmine Lodge which is nearby, has the same owner but is more hostel!) Wonderful pool, the rooms are very nice, the food was great and the people lovely, under $25 a night! Restaurant: walking distance from hotel, called Lilypop, very small, but the Khmer food that Lily makes, right in front of you, is delicious. Not to be missed!)

I am green with envy!:smiley:

The anti-malaria meds are very simple with no noticeable side affects. It’s just a pill every morning for a few days before and a week after you leave the area. Not sure what torture you’re concerned about.

The drugs have improved over the last few years. I took some about 20 years ago and the side effects were huge. Stomach cramps, insomnia, nausea, hallucinations, light sensitivity, skin itching so bad I wanted to tear my flesh off. I almost wanted to catch malaria as the disease couldn’t be as bad as the prevention surely?

I think the modern ones can also be used to treat lupus, but it’s never lupus is it?

No noticeable side effects unless, of course, you’re one of the people who suffer from side effects from those medications. It’s not unusual for certain side-effects to be seen in only a sub-set of the population.

I’ve been in almost every country on the malaria risk list, and never got malaria. I only met one traveler who ever did. I was in Cambodia a few months ago, and never heard anyone even talking about it. Beds in good hotels don’t even have mosquito netting. (In Africa they do, even in bad hotels.) In Cambodia, the CDC reports that malaria is not a risk in urban centers, including Siem Reap.

Yes, if you spend your whole life there, malaria is a significant threat to life. Bur for the casual traveler spending a week or two there, the risk is very low, and the medical effects of the suppressants can be relevant and neurologically long-lasting.

I’m going to Ethiopia next month for three weeks, and I’ve decided not to take them, although I will take a mosquito repellent. Malarial mosquitoes bite only after dark, and i do not expect to be outdoors after dark.

I’ve had malaria and it was pretty bad; I dropped 20 pounds in two weeks. And this was when I weighed 117 pounds.

I never had any side effects from the meds, though, so I can’t speak to the torture. I’d never, ever, ever, go without the anti-malarial meds, though. Having malaria was terrible.

So one thing to make clear, the areas you are going to do not have Malaria but they DO have dengue fever. Dengue is caused by day time mosquitos, unlike Malaria, and there is no pills you can take to prevent it, so you really should cover up with a strong DEET repellent both night and day.

I’ve had Dengue before, it’s nowhere near as serious as Malaria but it will definitely ruin your holiday if you get it.

Medical advice is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Not true. There are a variety of anti-malarials, since some strains are resistant to the most common one, chloroquine. In particular, mefloquine (Larium) can have some serious side effects.

I don’t know if Cambodia has chloroquine-resistant malaria, but stating that anti-malarials don’t have potential for serious side effects is incorrect.

Very good information, thanks for the corrections.

My experience was in years past taking anti-malarial meds was that they had some of the uncomfortable side affects listed above. The most recent set I took (last month) had none of that and the doctor said that the newer drugs were much less intrusive.

I guess my point was that if the OP is using long past experience to guide the decision this time then he/she should consult with their doctor to see their concerns about “the torture of anti-malarial medication” is valid.

I came down with Malaria after I left the Peace Corps. I must have forgotten the last couple of doses.

If I were you, I’d take the meds…

I’ve taken Doxycycline before as an anti-malarial. The only common side effect is it makes you more susceptible to sun-burn. Wear sun screen and cover up. Also usually cheaper than the other ones.

Yes, hydroxychloroquine is used to treat lupus; chloroquine is still used occasionally as malaria treatment or prophylaxis although its use has fallen off due to side effects and resistance.

Lariam (mefloquine) was very popular for a while because it could be taken once a day, and guess what? That’s the one the causes the worst psychiatric issues. A travel clinic will be able to advise you on what’s best.

Doxycycline is one of the generic drugs that has become very expensive (we’re talking 5 or 10 DOLLARS a dose, not 5 or 10 cents like before) in recent years. :mad:

Maybe in the US, but not here (being Thailand). Buy them when you arrive, if he goes to a big pharmacy in Phonh Penh he can get it for 10 cents a pill or so. No prescription needed.

I shouldn’t try to watch the convention and post here at the same time! Lariam is taken once a WEEK, not once a day. :smack:

I just took it a couple of weeks ago for non-malaria reasons. It made me queasy as hell, which is also apparently a common side effect. It may help to take it with food, but I did that and was still queasy as hell. Perhaps preferable to malaria, but still a side effect.

I’m going to Papua New Guinea in a few weeks, which has chloroquine-resistant malaria. I definitely didn’t want to mess with Lariam, and malarone isn’t available here in Panama, which leaves doxycycline. It’s about a dollar a pill here. I’ve taken it before and don’t recall having any problems with it.

Common side effects that are listed:

At least I don’t have to worry about the last one.