Halofantrine (Oral)

Overview

Malaria is an infection that is transmitted via mosquito bites that can cause very serious symptoms and side effects. This is a serious condition that can be contracted in several places around the world especially in parts of South and Central America, Oceania, Hispaniola, areas in the Middle East, regions in the African continent, and Southeast Asia. An antimalarial drug such as halofantrine is prescribed as a preventative measure to people traveling to those areas.

Prescription strength antimalarial drugs such as halofantrine have been known to cause serious side effects that can prevent their use except in the most extreme situations where no other alternative medicines exist. If you are administered halofantrine after contracting malaria, it is important that you remain in close contact with your medical team and follow all of their instructions. It is also likely that you may be admitted to the hospital for a substantial length of time following the contraction of malaria.

The best way to combat malarial infection is by avoiding mosquito bites in areas where the disease is a problem. Mosquitos are most active between dusk and dawn, and travelers to regions where malaria is a problem are advised to limit their time outdoors during these hours. If you must be out of doors, be sure to wear protective clothing and use an insect repellant that contains DEET. Utilize a mosquito net that has been treated with a DEET spray to protect you while you sleep. If possible, sleep with an air conditioner on and all windows closed for the highest level of protection. Utilize anti-mosquito sprays, both on yourself and to the furnishings inside your home for an added layer of protection.

Conditions Treated

Type Of Medicine

  • Phenanthrenemethanol
  • Antimalarial

Side Effects

In addition to treating the symptoms of malaria, the use of halofantrine may cause some unwanted side effects. Some of these effects can be harmful or be a sign of a more serious problem. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important that medical attention is sought right away:

Less Likely:

  • Coughing
  • Rattling breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Noisy breathing

Rare Likelihood:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling of eyes, face or inside of the nose
  • Confusion
  • Reddening of skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Itching, especially of feet or hands
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Red skin around ear area
  • Convulsions
  • Unexplained tiredness or weakness
  • Chest pain

There are some side effects that you might experience that will go away on their own. These symptoms are likely a reaction to the halofantrine being introduced into the system and will dissipate as the body adjusts. If these side effects do not go away on their own after a period of a few days, or if they become worse, it is best practice to confer with your prescribing physician for further medical advice. If you are concerned with the occurrence of these side effects in any way, your doctor or pharmacist can provide further insight on what to do:

More Likely:

Less Likely:

It is possible that you may experience symptoms or side effects that are not listed here; in such cases, if their occurrence causes concern and they do not go away on their own, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms should go away on their own after a day or two, if they linger or worsen, it is advisable to seek further medical advice.

Dosage

In order to reduce side effects, it is recommended that halofantrine is taken prior to eating anything as patients have reported that this medication works best when taken on an empty stomach. Due to this information, patients are advised to alter their eating habits while taking halofantrine.

Malaria must be completely eradicated from the system to prevent it from returning. Patients are advised to take this medication exactly as advised and to continue to do so even if they begin to feel better. Stopping the medicine before it is advised by your doctor may increase your likelihood of a relapse. Your doctor may also prescribe a second course of treatment following the completion of the first.

The dosage information outlined below reflects the typical amounts and frequencies for halofantrine and may differ from the instructions that are given to you by your doctor. It is important to always follow the prescription details provided by your physician. Do not alter the way in which you take halofantrine or how often you take it without first talking to your doctor.

Tablets and Oral Suspension Delivery Methods:

Children who are prescribed halofantrine that weigh 80 pounds or less will receive dosage information from their doctor based on the following weight guidelines:

  • For children that weigh 50 pounds or less, the doctor will determine the dosage amount on a case by case basis.
  • Children that weigh between 51 and 69 pounds, the usual prescription amount is 250 milligrams taken every six hours for a total of three doses each day, taken without food.
  • Children that weigh between 70 and 80 pounds will typically be prescribed 500 milligrams taken every six hours for a total of three doses each day, taken without food.
  • Adults and children weighing more than 80 pounds will typically be prescribed 500 milligrams taken every six hours for a total of three doses each day, taken without food. If necessary, your doctor may require that the course of treatment be repeated following the initial one-week treatment period.

Patients that miss a dose are advised to take it once they remember that it had been skipped. However, in such cases where it is close to the next scheduled dosage, it is recommended that the missed dose is skipped entirely. If you have missed a dose and are unsure what to do, it is always best to contact your pharmacist for further guidance. Do not take a double dose of halofantrine as this can cause further harm to your health.

Major Drug Interactions:

Halotrine, like many other prescription medications, is not advised for use with some other drugs. In some cases, your doctor may opt to prescribe a different medication or alter the way in which one or both of the drugs is taken, by either changing the dosage amount, the frequency with which the drug is taken, or both. It is important that your doctor is aware of all of the medications that you are currently taking, including both prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal remedies, and vitamin and mineral supplements.

The use of halofantrine is not recommended for patients that are currently taking any of the medicines listed below. If you are taking any of these be sure to notify your doctor prior to taking any halofantrine:

  • Amifampridine
  • Mesoridazine
  • Terfenadine
  • Aurothioglucose
  • Saquinavir
  • Cisapride
  • Piperaquine
  • Ketoconazole
  • Pimozide
  • Levomethadyl
  • Posaconazole
  • Dronedarone
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Bepridil
  • Thioridazine
  • Amisulpride
  • Ziprasidone

The list of drugs below are contraindicated for use with halofantrine but your doctor may prescribe them both with some alterations to how you take them:

  • Zolmitriptan
  • Alfuzosin
  • Vinflunine
  • Amitriptyline
  • Vemurafenib
  • Anagrelide
  • Vardenafil
  • Aprindine
  • Triptorelin
  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Trimethoprim
  • Astemizole
  • Trazodone
  • Azithromycin
  • Tizanidine
  • Bretylium
  • Telithromycin
  • Ceritinib
  • Tedisamil
  • Chloroquine
  • Sunitinib
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Sulpiride
  • Clarithromycin
  • Spiramycin
  • Clozapine
  • Sorafenib
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
  • Dasatinib
  • Sodium Phosphate
  • Delamanid
  • Sertindole
  • Deslorelin
  • Salmeterol
  • Dofetilide
  • Ranolazine
  • Domperidone
  • Quinidine
  • Dothiepin
  • Protriptyline
  • Droperidol
  • Promethazine
  • Encainide
  • Procainamide
  • Erythromycin
  • Prajmaline
  • Fingolimod
  • Pirmenol
  • Fluconazole
  • Perflutren Lipid Microsphere
  • Foscarnet
  • Pazopanib
  • Gonadorelin
  • Panobinostat
  • Granisetron
  • Haloperidol
  • Acecainide
  • Histrelin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Nortriptyline
  • Ibutilide
  • Nilotinib
  • Iloperidone
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Isoflurane
  • Metronidazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Mefloquine
  • Lapatinib
  • Lorcainide
  • Levofloxacin
  • Opipramol
  • Lofepramine
  • Lopinavir
  • Lidoflazine
  • Lumefantrine
  • Leuprolide
  • Methadone
  • Ivabradine
  • Mifepristone
  • Isradipine
  • Nafarelin
  • Imipramine
  • Norfloxacin
  • Idelalisib
  • Octreotide
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Ondansetron
  • Hydroquinidine
  • Paliperidone
  • Halothane
  • Pasireotide
  • Goserelin
  • Pentamidine
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Pimavanserin
  • Fluoxetine
  • Pitolisant
  • Flecainide
  • Probucol
  • Escitalopram
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Enflurane
  • Propafenone
  • Efavirenz
  • Quetiapine
  • Doxepin
  • Quinine
  • Donepezil
  • Risperidone
  • Dolasetron
  • Sematilide
  • Disopyramide
  • Sevoflurane
  • Desipramine
  • Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
  • Degarelix
  • Solifenacin
  • Dabrafenib
  • Sotalol
  • Crizotinib
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • Clomipramine
  • Sultopride
  • Citalopram
  • Tacrolimus
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Telavancin
  • Chloral Hydrate
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Buserelin
  • Toremifene
  • Bedaquiline
  • Trifluoperazine
  • Azimilide
  • Trimipramine
  • Asenapine
  • Vandetanib
  • Aripiprazole
  • Vasopressin
  • Apomorphine
  • Amoxapine
  • Voriconazole
  • Amiodarone
  • Zotepine
  • Ajmaline
  • Zuclopenthixol

In addition to the other medications that you are taking, your doctor should be aware of certain lifestyle habits that may affect the way that your body tolerates and reacts to halofantrine. If you use tobacco products, drink regularly, or have other habits that may affect your overall health and wellness be sure to inform your prescribing physician.

Notify your doctor of your allergies, including reactions to foods, animals, and other medications. It is not recommended to drink grapefruit juice while taking this medication as it can create unwanted side effects or lessen the effectiveness of the medication.

Patients that are allergic to cola nut or have a sensitivity to this food are advised to avoid it while they are taking halofantrine.

Review your past medical history prior to taking this medication; if you suffer from any of the following conditions your doctor may opt to prescribe a different medication or change the way that you take halofantrine:

  • Heart problems, including an abnormal heartbeat
  • Thiamine deficiency
  • Unexplained sudden fainting

Warnings

While taking halofantrine and while you are being treated for malaria your doctor may order certain diagnostic tests, such as blood or urine tests. It is important that patients keep all scheduled appointments for both testing and follow-up care. If you do not experience an improvement in your symptoms, or they worsen, it is always best practice to notify your doctor right away.

There are certain preventative measures that you can take if you plan to travel to an area where malaria is reported to be a problem, as the best way to treat this condition is to avoid contracting it whenever possible. Malaria is transmitted via mosquito bites and anti-mosquito measures have proven helpful in avoiding this condition:

  • Mosquitos are most active in the period between dusk and dawn; it is therefore recommended that spending time outdoors during this time is kept to a minimum.
  • Appropriate clothing, such as long pants as well as long sleeve shirts are recommended especially in the hours between dusk and dawn.
  • Whenever possible, sleep in an air-conditioned room that is closed to the outside. If this is not possible, sleep under a mosquito net. For further protection, treat the netting with anti-mosquito spray prior to going to bed.
  • Anti-mosquito sprays that contain DEET are the most effective and should be applied to all exposed areas of the body, especially in the time between dusk and dawn.
  • Thoroughly spray all sleeping areas and indoor living spaces each evening with a DEET-containing insect repellant.

Storage

It is always advisable to store medication in its original packaging. Keep the container in a low-moisture environment that does not expose the medication to extreme heat or cold, do not let this medication freeze.

Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children and pets.

If you have excess pills or oral suspension at the conclusion of your course of treatment, confer with the prescribing physician or your pharmacist for further instruction on the appropriate disposal methods for halofantrine.

Summary

Patients that are traveling to one of the known areas where malaria is a problem may be prescribed the anti-malarial drug halofantrine. This medication is an effective treatment in malaria cases and should be taken exactly as directed.

Because patients may feel a significant improvement in their symptoms after their first few doses of this medication, they are reminded that it is imperative that they complete the entire course of treatment. Cutting the course of treatment short can result in the return or worsening of the symptoms and may cause the patient to suffer for a longer period of time unnecessarily.

The best way to avoid a malaria infection is to practice a proactive approach to mosquito bite avoidance. It is recommended that insect repellants contain DEET in order to be most effective. Travelers are advised to limit the time that they spend outdoors between dusk and dawn as that is the time when mosquitos are most active. Wear protective covering when outdoors during those hours, and apply mosquito repellants when venturing out of doors.

Inform your doctor of all of the medications that you are currently taking, including both prescription and non-prescription drugs as well as any over the counter medications, prior to taking halofantrine.