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Military Health System

Safety, Tolerability, and Compliance with Long-Term Antimalarial Chemoprophylaxis in American Soldiers in Afghanistan.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Sponsoring Office: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source:

Release Date/Publication: September 01, 2015

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Other Survey

Secondary DoD Data Source:


Long-term antimalarial chemoprophylaxis is currently used by deployed U.S. military personnel. Previous small, short-term efficacy studies have shown variable rates of side effects among patients taking various forms of chemoprophylaxis, though reliable safety and tolerability data on long-term use are limited. We conducted a survey of troops returning to Fort Drum, NY following a 12-month deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan from 2006 to 2007. Of the 2,351 respondents, 95% reported taking at least one form of prophylaxis during their deployment, and 90% were deployed for > 10 months. Compliance with daily doxycycline was poor (60%) compared with 80% with weekly mefloquine (MQ). Adverse events (AEs) were reported by approximately 30% with both MQ and doxycycline, with 10% discontinuing doxycycline compared with 4% of MQ users. Only 6% and 31% of soldiers reported use of bed nets and skin repellents, respectively. Compliance with long-term malaria prophylaxis was poor, and there were substantial tolerability issues based on these anonymous survey results, though fewer with MQ than doxycycline. Given few long-term antimalarial chemoprophylaxis options, there is an unmet medical need for new antimalarials safe for long-term use.


Saunders DL, et. al.,

Last Updated: February 21, 2019
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