Treatment of severe malarial infection
Seek expert advice.
Treatment should be initiated without delay in patients with proven or strongly suspected malaria.
Treatment includes the following:
- severe infection should be treated with intravenous quinine, especially in the light of considerable worldwide chloroquine resistance
- is the first line antimalarial drug used in severe infection in UK
- oral quinine therapy should be started when the patient is well enough to take oral medication
- quinine treatment should always be followed by a second drug - doxycycline or clindamycin (1)
- used only on adults on expert advice
- acts on the ring form of the parasite and reduces the parasite burden rapidly
- it is available as water soluble intravenous formulation and as rectal formulation (when IV therapy cannot be used)
- IV Artesunate can be obtained from specialist tropical disease centers in London and Liverpool
- Artesunate can be considered instead or in addition to quinine in
- patients with parasite counts over 20%,
- very severe disease
- deterioration on optimal doses of quinine
- cardiovascular disease that increases the risks from quinine (1)
Emergency standby treatment should be recommended for those taking chemoprophylaxis and visiting remote areas where they are unlikely to be within 24 hours of medical attention (3)- see linked item
The summary of product characteristics must be consulted before prescribing the drugs prescribed.
Last reviewed 01/2018