How doxycycline protects you from malaria

January 20, 2020

Malaria is not something we need to worry about in the western countries, but if you are planning your vacation in tropical countries, malaria is something you should think about, especially when it comes to travel medication.


Malaria is a deadly disease that infects your blood, causing symptoms such as fever, tremors, and chills. The disease is caused by a plasmodia parasite that lives in mosquitoes and is transmitted by a mosquito bite, which can be fatal. As soon as the parasite is in your organism, it can develop in your liver and then infect your red blood cells and cause them to burst.


The mosquitoes that carry malaria live in subtropical and tropical climates, which is why we do not have to worry about a malaria infection in the west. As a rule of thumb, one can say that malaria areas are often located around Ecuador. However, you should weigh your risk of malaria on every exotic trip. We have an uncomplicated world map with malaria occurrences for you, so that you can determine whether you are traveling in a risk zone.

a world map of infected areas

What do I have to do to protect myself against malaria?

Once you find that your destination is a malaria risk zone, you should organize prophylaxis in advance. Even if your destination is classified as a "low-risk zone," it's still better to protect yourself against malaria than to risk it. Because a "low risk" does not mean "no risk". Caution is better than forbearance.


While many travel prophylaxis involves vaccination (yellow fever, hepatitis A, typhoid fever), malaria can only be prevented by taking tablets. These tablets are prescription-only, so you shouldn't wait for the last minutes to get it from your doctor.


There is a wide range of anti-malaria drugs. Which medication is best for you? depends on your travel location and length, your age and your medical history (and that of your family). Furthermore, other factors, such as an existing pregnancy or whether you have ever had problems with an anti-malaria drug, play an important role in the decision.

While there are certain drugs that have been developed specifically for malaria prophylaxis (such as Malarone and Lariam), doxycycline (tetracycline antibiotic) can also be effective in preventing malaria.

How does doxycycline protect against malaria?

Most anti-malarial drugs attack the Plasmodium parasite as soon as it enters the red blood cells and kills it before it can multiply or cause other damage. As a tetracycline antibiotic, you usually combine doxycycline with the treatment of an infection caused by bacteria, not parasites. Yet, it is still effective in preventing malaria through its special mechanism of action.


The tetracycline antibiotic binds to the part of the bacterium that is responsible for building the protein, thus preventing the bacterium from binding to your cells. The mode of action of tetracyclines (like doxycycline) in malaria has been extensively researched and is still a mystery. It is thought to affect parasites in a similar way to bacteria, which means that it stops their growth and therefore kills the parasite.

How doxycycline protects you from malaria

Why should I choose doxycycline?

Taking doxycycline instead of other anti-malarials offers a lot of benefits. Doxycycline is the cheapest option compared to other anti-malarials, which is a decisive factor for many tourists. Many travelers are looking for a cheap trip and therefore prefer a low-cost drug.


Doxycycline is often preferred for short term holidays, as the drug has to be taken 1-2 days before the trip. You can usually order the medication on our website with our express shipping option. The antibiotic can also protect you from other illnesses and infections while you are taking it, which is ideal for people planning to go camping, hiking or water activities during their holidays. In addition, there are people who already use the medication for other conditions, such as acne, and therefore do not need to take further prophylaxis for malaria.

Like everything else, doxycycline has its advantages and disadvantages. However, some people avoid antibiotics because they don't want to risk developing abdominal pain or a risk of a fungal infection. Doxycycline also needs to be taken daily, and not everyone likes that.



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