International travelers from non-endemic areas are at high risk of contracting malaria due to their lack of immunity. Prevention is therefore of outmost importance and is achieved through effective and safe chemoprophylaxis, which reduces the risk of fatal disease. Among the various antimalarial drugs available, the synergistic combination of atovaquone and proguanil (A/P) (Malarone ®; Glaxo-SmithKline) has proven a valuable option in terms of effective protection against chloroquine and multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria, safety, tolerability, and ease of use, thus favoring compliance. The purpose of the present study was to assess acceptability and ease of use of A/P chemoprophylaxis in a population of employees of the oil industry bound to malarious areas. Particular attention was paid to treatment adherence.
A survey was conducted on a sample of 700 employees on A/P chemoprophylaxis. Demographic data and specific information on A/P treatment were collected by means of a 16-item questionnaire administered immediately before departure. All questionnaires returned were then entered into a database and statistically analyzed.
Both habitual and first-time travelers showed good adherence to A/P chemoprophylactic regimen. In general, only few adverse side-effects were reported, none of which were serious. Travelers with previous experience of other antimalarials stated A/P prophylaxis had proven advantageous due to fewer adverse reactions, better condition of administration, and better sense of protection compared with other available treatments.