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Old 30th October 2005, 17:55   #1 (permalink)
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Malaria drugs and diving

Hi Guys

Does anyone have any knowledge of the types of malaria drugs that are available, and the effects that they have on sensitivity to oxygen and decompresion, in particular relating to Trimix dives in the 70m range?
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Old 30th October 2005, 20:09   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Pete how you doing?

The best anti-malarial to use, which is safe as far as diving is concerned, is DOXYCYCLINE. The dose is 100mg daily and you need to start one week before hand (to make sure you're not allergic to it) and carry on for 4 weeks afterwards. The only slight snag is that it make some people sensitive to sunlight so you might come out in an irritating rash. If you can get hold of some a few weeks before you go, it might be worth taking a few before going out in the sun to see whether you are affected.

As a matter of interest, doxycycline is also used for treating a number of the less sociably acceptable diseases that people often pick up on
expeditions to far-flung parts of the world...

Used this myself on a CCR trimix trip to the Solomons, daily diving in excess of 70 metres and on occassion to 120 metres with no problems at all. Including some very long hangs.

Cheers,

Dave Cooper.

Last edited by Decodiver; 31st October 2005 at 18:03..

 
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Old 30th October 2005, 22:51   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Malaria drugs and diving

Myself and my wife have used DOXYCYCLINE a few times now when travelling to parts of the Pacific. Whilst we have dived to the depths you mention neither of us had any problems with it.

As mentioned its used to treat a number of things from Anthrax to acne and the odd STD.... http://www.drugs.com/doxycycline.html will tell you more if you are interested.

Be careful to follow the instructions, especially to continue to take it after you have left the malaria area and also the list of things not to take with it.

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Old 30th October 2005, 22:53   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Malaria drugs and diving

Whatever you take, forget the once-a-week Mefloquine anti-malarial. It can have some bizarre effects/after-effects. Strange effects aren't things you want during a deeper, more narcotic dive.
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Old 30th October 2005, 23:21   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Malaria drugs and diving

I can't take doxy as it gives me the mother of all head aches. Even though I have had malaria and dengue I don't take anything now when I travel. I have a course of drugs to take if I get malaria but just use Bushman's Tropical Strength to keep the evil little buggers away.
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Old 31st October 2005, 00:28   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Malaria drugs and diving

Just keep well away from Larium (sp)

Buddy of mine went nuts after taking it.:D

After a trip he began feeling increasingly paranoid that everyone was out to get him. He actually went to the hospital and told the nurse that he had gone mad and that they should admit him. (paranoia, is one of the possible side effects)


Wouldn't want to be anywhere deep, dark and confined with somone behaving like that!

Keith 'the loony' has never lived it down.......he fly's 747s now :D



I dont take anything. If Im in a mozzie infested area I wear long socks from dusk onwards as they like to bite ankles/feet more than anywhere. At night use a net and/or burn an anti-mozzie coil.

You may need to consider what particular drug to take for the area you are visiting as some parasites have built up resistances to some treatment.

Last edited by Drmike; 31st October 2005 at 00:44..
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Old 31st October 2005, 17:46   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Malaria drugs and diving

For information:

Mefloquine (mentioned by Ken) and larium (mentioned by Mike) are the same thing, and the warnings are appropriate. This issue was writting up in SPUMS Journal by David Wright a few years ago.

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Old 31st October 2005, 19:23   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Malaria drugs and diving

Quote: (Originally Posted by Ken)
Whatever you take, forget the once-a-week Mefloquine anti-malarial. It can have some bizarre effects/after-effects. Strange effects aren't things you want during a deeper, more narcotic dive.
I guess its individual susceptibility.. I took it last year, started 2 weeks before my expedition, then for 1 month, then for 2 weeks after..

I had no side effects at all.. I also did some real deep trimix dives...

It was what my doctor suggested for me and the area I was visiting.. He also knew I was going to do some big dives so he made a few phone calls to check on it... The 2 weeks before also allowed time incase I had some side effects..
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Old 31st October 2005, 21:31   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Malaria drugs and diving

The other problem with Larium is that apart from the suicidal/delusional/paranoid feelings that occur in a very small percentage of users, it can give you other symptoms that can mimic CDI (dizzyness and visual problems). This can obviously cause confusion after diving if you have symptoms consistent with the bends.

Also even though you have had the drug for a few weeks without problems, these side effects can come on further down the track. Hence definitely not recommended for divers.

The decision whether to take anti malarials or not is very difficult in some cases. One really needs up to date local knowledge on malaria prevalence and resistance.

There are other alternatives to those who cannot take doxy, like Malarone and chloroquine, or taking a course of Larium or chloroquine/fansidar if you are unlucky enough to get malaria.

Most importantly if you get a fever up to 6 months after you get home, dont forget to insist that your doctor checks for malaria.
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Last edited by Richard Harris; 31st October 2005 at 21:33..
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Old 1st November 2005, 03:32   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Malaria drugs and diving

Hi guys

Thanks for all the above. I'll go and talk to my doctor now.

Cheers

Pete S
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