Travel medicine

  • Some commonly prescribed medication, including for malaria and diarrhoea, can interact with HIV drugs.

There are some medicines prescribed to travellers which can interact with medicines for HIV. Some malaria drugs, for example, can be less effective if taken with HIV drugs. When travel destinations are in malaria-endemic areas, those with HIV should still be prescribed appropriate drugs for malaria, as there are many which have no known interactions with HIV drugs. However, it’s important to recognise that medications should be checked for interactions before they are taken.

The severity of malaria is increased in HIV-infected individuals, so information from a travel specialist on the avoidance of mosquito bites is also important - such as by using long-lasting, DEET-containing repellent and sleeping under mosquito nets at night.

It is advisable for people with HIV to speak to their HIV doctor well in advance of any travel. This will allow time to discuss and plan any travel medications needed for a particular country and to discuss alternatives to medication if they cannot be taken.

Some examples of interactions between malaria drugs and those used to treat HIV include:1

Mefloquine

This malaria drug may decrease the levels of the HIV drugs ritonavir, atazanavir, lopinavir and nelfinavir. Taking the HIV drugs efavirenz and nevirapine may make this malaria drug less effective.

Atovaquone /Proguanil

Combining this malaria drug with the HIV drugs indinavir, lopinavir or ritonavir may make it less effective against malaria.

Chloroquine

This malaria drug may interact with the HIV drug ritonavir.

Travellers’ diarrhoea

In addition to malaria drugs, an antibiotic against travellers’ diarrhoea called Clarithromycin may interact with HIV drugs. Therefore, it’s advisable for all HIV-positive travellers to discuss any travel medication they may need with their HIV doctor, and to check the information provided with medicines for any known interactions.

 

 

References

  1. Bhadelia N, Klotman M, Caplivski D The HIV-positive traveler American Journal of Medicine.120: 574–80, 2007
This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.