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Primaquine vs Malarone

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Primaquine Details

Malarone Details

Comparative Analysis

Primaquine Prescription Information

Malarone Prescription Information

Primaquine Side Effects

Malarone Side Effects

Safety and Precautions

Cost Analysis

Market Analysis



For individuals at risk of malaria, certain drugs that interfere with the life cycle of Plasmodium parasites in the human body can help prevent infection and manage symptoms. Primaquine and Malarone are two such drugs that are often prescribed for malaria prevention and treatment. They each impact different stages of the Plasmodium lifecycle within the host but both have protective effects against malaria. Primaquine is a medication primarily used to prevent relapses of vivax or ovale malaria due to its ability to kill dormant parasites in the liver, while Malarone (a combination drug containing atovaquone and proguanil) acts by inhibiting parasitic growth in red blood cells. Please note that these medications should only be taken under medical supervision as they may cause side effects like nausea, stomach cramps or even severe reactions in people with specific metabolic deficiencies.

Primaquine vs Malarone Side By Side

Brand NamePrimaquineMalarone
ContraindicationsPeople with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD), severe gastrointestinal issues, visual disturbances, using certain antibiotics or antifungal drugsSevere kidney disease, using certain antibiotics or antifungal drugs
Cost$40 to $50 for 30 tablets (about $1.33-$1.67 per day)$200 for 30 tablets (about $6.67 per day)
Generic NamePrimaquineAtovaquone/Proguanil
Most Serious Side EffectHemolytic anemia in people with G6PD deficiency, heart problems, abnormal bleeding, mental health changesSevere allergic reactions, breathing problems, liver problems, seizures
Severe Drug InteractionsCertain antibiotics or antifungal drugsCertain antibiotics or antifungal drugs
Typical Dose15–30 mg/day for adults, 0.5 mg/kg for children daily for 14 days1 tablet per day (250 mg Atovaquone and 100 mg Proguanil), starting 1-2 days before travel, during stay, and for 7 days after leaving the area

What is Primaquine?

Primaquine, a medication used commonly for malaria prophylaxis, is most effective against the dormant form of Plasmodium vivax and ovale. It was first approved by the FDA in 1952 and works primarily on eliminating any residual parasites in the liver to prevent relapses. Primaquine is also utilized as a terminal prophylactic drug or causal prophylactic drug for those traveling back from areas with high prevalence of P. vivax or P. ovale.

On the other hand, Malarone is a combination product containing atovaquone and proguanil that acts on different stages of parasite’s life cycle in human body, including liver stage parasites which cause disease relapse after initial treatment. Approved by FDA in 2000, it's prescribed for both prevention and treatment of malaria caused by all species except chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum strains.

While primaquine may result into side effects like abdominal cramps or heartburn due to its specific action mechanism; Malarone generally has fewer side effects but can sometimes lead to minor gastrointestinal distress.

What conditions is Primaquine approved to treat?

Primaquine is approved for the treatment of different forms of malaria:

  • Treatment of uncomplicated P. vivax malaria, a strain that primarily causes relapsing illness.
  • Radical cure (prevention of relapse) of P. vivax and P. ovale infections when combined with a blood schizonticide like chloroquine.
  • Prophylaxis (preventive treatment) against all strains of human malaria, particularly for travel to areas where there's a low risk of infection.

On the other hand, Malarone is also used as prophylaxis against and treatment for certain types of malaria:

  • Prevention and acute therapy for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in adults and children over 40kg
  • Prophylactic use prior to traveling to regions where Plasmodium falciparum resistance has been reported.

How does Primaquine help with these illnesses?

Primaquine helps to prevent and treat malaria by acting on the malarial parasites in both humans and mosquitoes. It does this by interfering with the parasite's ability to reproduce, therefore reducing its numbers and preventing it from being transmitted further. Malaria is caused by a type of parasitic protozoan that invades red blood cells, causing symptoms such as fever, chills, sweating, headaches, body aches, nausea and vomiting. Primaquine is particularly effective against certain types of malaria parasites (Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale) which can remain dormant in liver cells for years before reactivating.

On the other hand, Malarone combines atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride to inhibit two separate pathways involved in the biosynthesis of pyrimidines required for nucleic acid replication within the malarial parasite. With these pathways blocked off effectively by Malarone’s components working synergistically together - this culminates into an environment where continued survival is not viable for these harmful organisms. Both drugs are potent anti-malarials but their specific usage depends on factors like patient health history or region-specific prevalence of resistant strains.

What is Malarone?

Malarone is a brand name for a combination of atovaquone and proguanil, which are both antimalarial medications. Malarone acts by inhibiting the reproduction of malaria parasites in red blood cells and in the liver. This dual action makes it particularly effective for both preventing and treating malaria.

The medication was first approved by the FDA in 2000 as an oral tablet formulation to be taken once daily with food or a milky drink to ensure optimal absorption into the bloodstream. Since Malarone does not belong to quinolines class (like primaquine), it has different side effects profile, specifically less gastrointestinal distress, such as nausea or vomiting, compared to medications like Primaquine. The combined actions on different stages of parasite's life cycle can make this drug beneficial especially in areas where resistance to "typical" antimalarial drugs such as Chloroquine is widespread.

What conditions is Malarone approved to treat?

Malarone is a medication that has been approved for use in the prevention and treatment of:

  • Malaria, specifically caused by Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax
  • It's also used as a prophylaxis to prevent malaria in travelers who are visiting areas with a significant risk of contracting malaria.

How does Malarone help with these illnesses?

Malarone, known generically as atovaquone-proguanil, is a potent combination medication used to treat and prevent malaria. It works by blocking the growth of parasites in red blood cells which prevents the disease from spreading throughout the body. Malarone also inhibits the replication of these parasites' DNA, thus preventing them from multiplying and causing more harm. Like Primaquine, it can be effectively employed for both treatment and prophylaxis of malaria; however, Malarone has been found in some cases to have fewer side effects such as stomach upset or vomiting. Additionally, while primaquine may require an extended regimen post-travel to ensure efficacy against certain types of malaria parasites (P.vivax), Malarone's preventative course usually ends only one week after leaving a malarial area making it more convenient for many travelers.

How effective are both Primaquine and Malarone?

Primaquine and Malarone (a combination of atovaquone and proguanil) both have an established track record in the prevention and treatment of malaria, a potentially deadly disease transmitted by mosquitos. Primaquine was approved by FDA more than half a century ago while Malarone received approval several decades later. Both drugs work through different mechanisms to prevent the growth of Plasmodium parasites that cause malaria.

In clinical trials comparing primaquine with Malarone for antimalarial prophylaxis, both were found to be generally well-tolerated and effective in preventing malaria. However, complications such as abdominal pain were reported slightly more often with primaquine use than with Malarone. Additionally, primaquine requires G6PD deficiency screening prior to administration due to risk of hemolytic anemia, which is not required for patients taking Malarone.

A 2019 meta-analysis showed high effectiveness rates for both medications as preventive measures against Plasmodium falciparum - one type of parasite causing malaria. While both are well tolerated among adults and children alike, it's noteworthy that there are differences regarding their dosing regimen: whereas Primaquine needs daily dosage before entering a malarial zone until several weeks after leaving; On the other hand, Malarone only needs daily doses starting two days before travel until seven days after return from areas where P.falciparum is prevalent.

Although similar in efficacy against most common types of plasmodium parasites causing malaria globally according to WHO reports (World Health Organization), newer research suggests that resistance may occur towards either drug depending on geographic location or specific patient population being treated thus careful prescription decisions should be made based on best current knowledge available about local drug-resistant strains.

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At what dose is Primaquine typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Primaquine typically range from 15–30 mg/day, but studies have indicated that 15 mg/day is usually sufficient for treating and preventing relapses of malaria in most people. Children can be started on a dosage calculated by their body weight (0.5 mg/kg) per day. In either population, the treatment duration can extend to 14 days or as directed by a healthcare professional. The maximum dosage should not exceed 30 mg/day under any circumstances.

At what dose is Malarone typically prescribed?

Malarone treatment is typically commenced with a dosage of 1 tablet per day, which consists of 250 mg Atovaquone and 100 mg Proguanil. This daily dose should be started one to two days before traveling to an area where malaria is endemic, continued throughout the stay and for seven days after leaving the area. The tablets are best taken with food or a milky drink at the same time each day. If there's no response or if symptoms persist despite taking Malarone as directed, seek immediate medical attention as this could indicate resistance to the medication or misdiagnosis of the condition.

What are the most common side effects for Primaquine?

Common side effects of Primaquine may include:

  • Stomach cramps or abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Mild itching or skin rash
  • Dizziness, a feeling of lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations (an irregular heartbeat)

On the other hand, Malarone's most common side effects are:

  • Headache,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Stomach pain or discomfort,
  • Coughing,
  • Weakness and fatigue.

It's important to note that while these drugs have similar side effect profiles due to their shared purpose in malaria treatment, individual reactions can vary greatly. Always consult with your healthcare provider for advice on medication choices.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Primaquine?

Primaquine, like any medication, can have side effects. In rare cases, some of these may be severe:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficult breathing; swelling in your face or throat
  • Heart problems: chest pain or discomfort; irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath
  • Hemolytic anemia (a condition where red blood cells are destroyed): fatigue or weakness; dark urine; yellowing skin and eyes (signs of jaundice); light-colored stools
  • Abnormal bleeding: bloody stool or coughing up blood
  • Mental health changes: confusion, unusual thoughts, feelings of extreme happiness or sadness

On the other hand, Malarone has its own potential risks:

  • Severe allergic reactions including skin rash with blistering and peeling
  • Breathing difficulties due to lung problems
  • Liver problems leading to yellowing eyes/skin (jaundice), persistent nausea/vomiting, dark urine.

Both medications require immediate medical attention if you experience any serious side effects. Given the nature and severity of malaria as a disease however, it's often considered that the benefits greatly outweigh any potential risk from these antimalarial drugs. As always though, consult with your healthcare provider for advice tailored specifically to your circumstances.

What are the most common side effects for Malarone?

Malarone, a combination of atovaquone and proguanil, is commonly used for malaria prevention. While generally well-tolerated, it can cause certain side effects:

  • Mild headache or dizziness
  • Coughing or minor throat irritation
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or upset
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weakness or loss of strength (fatigue)
  • Changes in sleep patterns such as insomnia
  • Mouth sores or blisters
  • Skin rash (in rare cases)
    Please note that these side effects are usually mild and temporary but if they persist, you should seek medical attention. Also remember that Malarone should be taken with food to minimize potential stomach discomfort.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Malarone?

When taking Malarone for malaria prevention or treatment, be aware of potential serious side effects. These may include:

  • Allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in behavior
  • Dark urine
  • Fever and chills
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of appetite and severe stomach pain which might move to your back
  • Redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin including inside the mouth -Seizures -Unusually weak or tired

If you experience any such symptoms after starting a regimen with Malarone, seek immediate medical attention.

Contraindications for Primaquine and Malarone?

Both Primaquine and Malarone, like all antimalarial medications, may cause some side effects. If you notice severe gastrointestinal issues (like vomiting or diarrhea), signs of anemia (such as unusual tiredness or dark coloured urine), or visual disturbances after taking these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Primaquine nor Malarone should be taken if you are using certain antibiotics or antifungal drugs due to the risk of harmful interactions. Always inform your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking; certain drugs will require a particular period to clear from your system in order to prevent dangerous interactions with Primaquine and Malarone.

Moreover, it's important to note that people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD) should not take Primaquine due to the risk of hemolytic anemia. Similarly, individuals with severe kidney disease should avoid Malarone as it can worsen their condition.

How much do Primaquine and Malarone cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 30 tablets of Malarone (250/100 mg) averages around $200, which works out to approximately $6.67 per day.
  • The price for 30 tablets of Primaquine (26.3 mg) is about $40 to $50, working out to roughly $1.33-$1.67 per day.

Thus, if you are considering cost alone, Primaquine may be a more affordable option on a per-day treatment basis compared with Malarone. However, it's important that cost should not be your primary consideration in determining which malaria drug is right for you - effectiveness and side-effects should also play major roles.

In terms of generic versions:

  • Generic atovaquone/proguanil (the active ingredients in Malarone) costs between $70 and $90 for 30 pills or about $2.33-$3/day.
  • Generic primaquine prices can range from around $15-$20 dollars for 30 pills depending on the pharmacy, meaning daily costs would equate to roughly $0.50-$0.67/day.

Again though, while cheaper options may seem attractive it's key that patients speak with their healthcare provider before making decisions solely based on medication costs as efficacy and potential side effects vary considerably between anti-malaria treatments.

Popularity of Primaquine and Malarone

Primaquine and Malarone (Atovaquone/Proguanil) are both effective medications used to treat or prevent malaria, a disease caused by parasites that enter the body through the bite of a mosquito.

Primaquine, an older medication with widespread use due to its efficacy in preventing relapses of certain types of malaria, was estimated to have been prescribed widely across regions where malaria is endemic. It is notably used after initial treatment with other antimalarial drugs for Plasmodium vivax and P. ovale infections because it targets dormant liver stages of the parasite which can cause relapse months or years later. However, primaquine usage requires caution as this drug can cause severe hemolytic anemia in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.

Malarone accounted for a significant portion of prophylaxis prescriptions among travelers from non-endemic areas visiting regions where malaria is prevalent. Its popularity stems from its effectiveness against multiple life-cycle stages of the malarial parasite along with fewer side effects compared to some other antimalarials. Malarone has seen increasing prevalence over recent years owing to resistance development towards traditional antimalarials.


Both Primaquine and Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil) are widely used by travelers as prophylaxis against malaria, backed by numerous clinical studies indicating their efficacy. However, they are also contraindicated with one another and should not be taken simultaneously without the advice of a healthcare professional. These drugs work through different mechanisms to prevent infection: Primaquine is effective in destroying both the liver stage and dormant stage of Plasmodium vivax, thereby preventing relapses; whereas Malarone inhibits the reproduction of parasites in red blood cells.

Primaquine is generally considered when visiting areas endemic for P. vivax or after leaving such regions to prevent any possible relapse, while Malarone tends to be prescribed for short-term travel due to its convenience - it needs only be started 1-2 days before travel and continued for just 7 days post-travel.

Both drugs have generic versions available which can provide cost savings especially beneficial for self-pay patients. Both may require an adjustment period where side effects such as stomach upset could occur but typically resolve on their own.

While both medications generally exhibit good tolerability profiles, there are distinct differences: primaquine use requires G6PD deficiency testing prior to prescription due to a risk of hemolytic anemia in deficient individuals; meanwhile Malarone has been associated with minor gastrointestinal issues like nausea and vomiting but poses less concern about hematologic side effects than primaquine does. Always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking these medications.