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Anti-malarial Medications

MedicationsMalaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. Because it is not possible to completely avoid mosquito bites (and for troops in the field this is especially difficult), anti-malarial medications are a key component of malaria prevention. There is currently no vaccine against malaria registered in Australia.

The Australian Defence Force selects from a number of anti-malarial medications for the prevention and treatment of malaria. There is no single medication that is 100% effective in preventing malaria and suitable for everyone. All medications have side effects but some individuals may also demonstrate intolerance to certain drugs. This is why Defence works to ensure there is a range of preventative health options available for personnel deploying to malaria affected areas. Because the malaria parasite evolves over time and develops resistance to anti-malarial medications, ongoing development of new medications is necessary.

Anti-malarial medications currently used within the ADF are doxycycline, atovaquone/proguanil (trade name Malarone™), mefloquine and primaquine. Tafenoquine was trialled by the Army Malaria Institute* (AMI) in ADF personnel deployed to Timor-Leste from 2000 to 2001. The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the registration of tafenoquine on 13 September 2018.

  Mefloquine Tafenoquine
Personnel provided medication as part of a trial
Tafenoquine eradication trial (Bouganville and East Timor 1999-2000)   1017
Tafenoquine prophylaxis trial (East Timor 2000-2001) 162 492
Mefloquine and Doxycycline prophylaxis trial (East Timor 2001 - 2002) 1157  
Malaria Treatment Trial (2001-2)   31
Personnel individually prescribed medication
2001 94  
2002 77  
2003 69  
2004 67  
2005 73  
2006 53  
2007 28  
2008 32  
2009 29  
2010 25  
2011 26  
2012 13  
2013 20  
2014 35  
2015 15  
2016 5  
2017 2  
Totals 1982 1540