Antimalarial medications, also known as antimalarials, are designed to prevent or cure malaria. Such drugs may be used for some or all of the following:
- Treatment of malaria in individuals with suspected or confirmed infection
- Prevention of infection in individuals visiting a malaria-endemic region who have no immunity (Malaria prophylaxis)
- Routine intermittent treatment of certain groups in endemic regions (Intermittent preventive therapy)
Some antimalarial agents, particularly chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, are also used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus-associated arthritis.
Current practice in treating cases of malaria is based on the concept of combination therapy, since this offers several advantages, including reduced risk of treatment failure, reduced risk of developing resistance, enhanced convenience, and reduced side-effects. Prompt parasitological confirmation by microscopy, or alternatively by rapid diagnostic tests, is recommended in all patients suspected of malaria before treatment is started. Treatment solely on the basis of clinical suspicion should only be considered when a parasitological diagnosis is not accessible.