Table of contents:
- Main remedies for malaria
- Treatment of severe and complicated malaria
- Signs of improvement and worsening
- Possible complications
The treatment of malaria is done with antimalarial drugs that are free of charge and provided by the SUS (Sistema Único de Saúde). Treatment is aimed at preventing the development of the parasite and the dose may vary according to the severity of the disease, the species of the parasite and the patient's age and weight.
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, which can contain 4 different species of parasites: Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium falciparum, which is responsible for severe and complicated malaria. Learn more about malaria.
When treatment is done quickly and correctly, malaria is curable.However, when treatment is not instituted immediately, the person can develop severe and complicated malaria, especially if they have been bitten by the mosquito that transmits Plasmodium falciparum, and can have serious complications such as liver, kidney and brain damage or even death.
Main remedies for malaria
Treatment of malaria can be done with antimalarial drugs depending on the age of the person, the severity of the symptoms and the type of parasite that caused the malaria. Thus, the indicated drugs can be:
For malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax or Plasmodium ovale:
- Chloroquine for 3 days + Primaquine for 7 or 14 days;
- In pregnant women and children under 6 months of age - Chloroquine for 3 days.
For malaria caused by Plasmodium malariae:
Chloroquine for 3 days
For malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum:
- Artemeter + Lumefantrine for 3 days + Primaquine in a single dose;
- Artesunate + Mefloquine for 3 days + Primaquine in a single dose;
- Quinine for 3 days + Doxycycline for 5 days + Primaquine for 6th day;
- In pregnant women in the first trimester and children under 6 months - Quinine + Clindamycin;
- In pregnant women in the second and third trimesters - Artemether + Lumefantrine or Artesunate + Mefloquine.
Antimalarial drugs should be taken all at once during a meal and their dose varies according to the age and weight of the patient, so only the doctor or pediatrician can confirm the right dose of the drug for each person.
The patient must take the antimalarial medication for all the days that the doctor has prescribed, even if the symptoms begin to disappear before the date indicated by the doctor to avoid the worsening of malaria.
Treatment of severe and complicated malaria
Treatment of severe and complicated malaria is usually performed in the hospital, after confirming that the patient has been infected with Plasmodium falciparum, and can be done as follows:
- Artesunate for 8 days and Clindamycin for 7 days;
- Artemeter injections for 5 days and Clindamycin for 7 days;
- Injection by vein of Quinine and Clindamycin for 7 days.
In the first trimester of pregnancy and in babies younger than 6 months, only treatment with quinine and clindamycin can be performed.
Signs of improvement and worsening
Signs of improvement appear after starting to use the medication prescribed by the doctor. Thus, after a few hours the person feels better, the fever goes down and the headache decreases, with an increase in appetite.
However, when the treatment is not carried out correctly or when the medication dose is not adequate, it is possible that signs of worsening may appear, such as persistent fever, increased frequency of symptoms, chills, rigid abdomen, delirium and convulsions. If these symptoms are present, the person should be evaluated again by the doctor to adjust the treatment.
Complications can arise when treatment is not carried out and can include coma, severe anemia, kidney failure, heart problems. Major complications can be seen in case of cerebral malaria, which is the most serious type of this disease.