Why is chloroquine therapy in malaria started with a loading dose?

Why is chloroquine therapy in malaria started with a loading dose

Chloroquine is one of the anti-malaria medications. Chloroquine is given to kill the organism that is responsible to cause malaria. A loading dose is a term used to describe the act of giving a high initial dose of medications. Some medications are given an initial high dose to achieve the desired effect and as some of the medications stay long in the human body, the subsequent doses will be lower to continue the same desired effect. This also applies to chloroquine. You can also askdoctor for a better understanding of health, diseases, or medications.

Malaria is an infectious disease. This disease is transmitted mainly by specific types of mosquitoes. The mosquito is the female anopheles mosquitoes. The organism that is causing malaria is a parasite. The parasite is known as plasmodium. There few types of plasmodium that are responsible to cause malaria and they are:

  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium ovale
  • Plasmodium knowlesi
  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Plasmodium malariae

A single bite from countries with reported cases of malaria. Malaria may cause death if not treated properly. How do you know you may be having malaria? The answer is by understanding the symptoms of this disease. The symptoms of malaria are:

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Yellow skin
  • Yellow eyes
  • Rapid heartbeats
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Body pain
  • Lethargy or tiredness
  • Blood in urine
  • Dark colour urine
  • Seizure
  • Confusion

If you are having a fever with or without the above-mentioned symptoms, please get medical attention. Traveling or staying in countries with malaria is a supportive point that you might be having this disease, so, please let your physician know. Active transmission is still going on in 95 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 2018, there are 219 million cases of malaria globally. Malaria is a common disease and everyone should know and be aware of this. 92% of malaria cases were reported in Africa, 5% of cases in south-east Asia, and 2% in Mediterranean countries.

Most deaths due to malaria are related to plasmodium falciparum infections and take place in African countries. Elimination or control of the anopheles mosquitoes, the use of mosquito repellant, prophylactic medication, and vaccination are examples of preventive measures for malaria. Vaccine for malaria has not yet been released but active study and trial have been going on before we can start to use it. Prophylactic medication is when a person is given anti-malaria medications at a certain dose to prevent the person from getting malaria.  

Chloroquine can be taken orally. Those with kidney disease should get extra attention from physicians if they need to take anti-malaria for a long duration as this may cause more damage to their kidneys. Chloroquine should be consumed with food. Those who are allergic to this medication should not be given or take it. Patients that are taking other medications that are causing toxicity to the liver must not take chloroquine straight away as this may cause liver failure. Patients who are infected with plasmodium falciparum that has developed resistance towards chloroquine should not take chloroquine. This medication must be stored between the temperature of 15 to 30 degrees celsius.

 Possible side effects of chloroquine are:

  • Hair loss
  • Retinopathy
  • Drowsiness
  • Visual impairment
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Heart failure

Chloroquine is not available over the counter. You will need a prescription from a registered physician. Stay safe and always get advice from local health care providers regarding any of your health conditions including the need to travel to areas with malaria.

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