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J Travel Med. 1996 Mar 1;3(1):62.

Homeopathic Resistant Malaria.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Danderyd, Sweden.


Multiresistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a major threat to travelers to subSaharan Africa. However, even if chemoprophylaxis does not prevent clinical malaria in some individuals, it does lead to a reduction in the severity of the disease.1 In Sweden, we have recently seen five patients with malaria (three due to P. ovale and two due to P. falciparum) who have used homeopathic drugs for prophylaxis during visits to West Africa. We are concerned about this incidence and afraid that reduced confidence in modern medical malaria prophylaxis will encourage some individuals to try totally ineffective alternatives. Three women (57, 40, and 39 years old) visited Guinea Conacry in January 1995 as members of a group of 24 persons learning about African dances. The 57-year-old woman took mefloquine irregularly but vomited each time after intake. She also used Spenglersan M, which is a homeopathic drug that is administered (one drop daily in the bend of the arm) as malaria prophylaxis. The two other women used Spenglersan M only. They all fell ill with P. ovale malaria despite ongoing intake. Spenglersan M is said to contain both antigen from P. falciparum and antibodies against the parasite diluted to 1:1,000,000,000 concentration. The fourth case was a 26-year-old man who visited Ghana and Burkina Faso in October and November 1994. He used China D-6 for prophylaxis. This is a homeopathic preparation of the bark from the cinchona tree. Not even trace amounts of quinine were found in the tablets with a very sensitive high-performance liquid chromatographic method.2 Four days after returning from Africa he fell ill with P. falciparum malaria and received sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine treatment. After clinical relapse (RI), mefloquine was given and the patient was eventually cured. The fifth case was a 34-year-old woman admitted to hospital because of P. falciparum malaria after a visit to Guinea Conacry in January 1995. She had taken a homeopathic drug, Charaka comp 118, as prophylaxis. The drug is said to contain different extracts from herbs diluted 30 times. At first she refused to stay in hospital, but 2 days later she was readmitted and treated in the intensive care unit because of severe malaria with hypotonia and anemia. She had hyperparasitemia with 23% infected erythrocytes. Exchange transfusion was done, quinine was given, and the patient recovered without sequelae. The mortality is about 1% in people with P. falciparum infection.3 We therefore urge the readers to stand up against the dangerous use of homeopathic drugs and instead motivate travelers to use protective malaria prophylaxis.

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