What do I need to know before I travel?
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Antimalarial tablets must always be used alongside mosquito bite avoidance measures. These two measures together give you the best protection from malaria. However, rarely infection from malaria can still occur. 

If you develop symptoms of malaria during your trip, or on return home, you must seek medical attention urgently, even if you have been taking your antimalarial tablets.


The following preparations are available and licensed in the UK for malaria chemoprophylaxis:

  • Doxycycline 100mg and 50mg capsules
  • Vibramycin® 100mg dispersible tablets


  • The adult dose is 100mg taken daily.
  • The dose for children from 12 years of age is 100mg taken daily. Doxycycline is not suitable for children under 12 years of age.

Patient information leaflet (PIL)

You should always read the manufacturer’s patient information leaflet (PIL) before taking any medications. The PIL lists the possible side effects of doxycycline and also lists medicines that may be affected by taking it. If you are regularly taking any other medications (even over the counter tablets), you should always discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure it is safe to take doxycycline.

How to take the medicine 

Doxycycline should be started 1 to 2 days before entering a country with a risk of malaria; taken daily for the entire duration of your stay; and continued for 4 weeks after leaving the affected area.

  • The capsules, or solution of dispersible tablets, should be swallowed with plenty of water and taken with food at the same time each day.
    • If you miss a dose, you should take the missed dose as soon as you remember, and then carry on with the schedule (you may have to get more tablets).
    • If it is nearly time for the next dose, then you should skip the missed dose (never take two doses at the same time).
  • You should take this medication when sitting or standing upright, and remain in an upright position for at least one hour after administration to reduce your chance of developing indigestion or heartburn. Avoid taking this medication just before lying down.
  • It is very important to complete the course.
  • Doxycycline has been used safely long term for periods of up to 2 years; and can be used longer in certain circumstances.

Other considerations

You should check with your doctor if you have systemic lupus erythematosus or porphyria, as these conditions may be affected by taking doxycycline.

Doxycycline is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless in special circumstances.

  • You should always speak to your midwife or doctor for advice before taking anti-malarial medications or travelling to a malaria-endemic country when pregnant.

You should try to avoid becoming pregnant (conceiving) for 1 week after stopping this medication as the medication might still be in your system.

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