(Date: May 2023. Version: 3)

This factsheet has been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy.

Quick read

Malarone® can be used in pregnancy to prevent and treat malaria. This is very important as malaria can be life-threatening to both the woman and her unborn baby.

What is it?

Malarone® is an antimalarial drug. It may be recommended to prevent malaria when travelling to certain areas. It is also used to treat malaria in people who have caught the infection.

What are the benefits of using Malarone® in pregnancy?

Malarone® can prevent and treat malaria. This is important as malaria infection can be life-threatening for the woman and has been linked to stillbirth, preterm delivery, low infant birth weight, and death of the baby after birth.

What are the risks of using Malarone® in pregnancy?

There are no known risks. If Malarone® is needed, it should not be avoided just because a woman is pregnant.

Are there any alternatives to using Malarone® in pregnancy?

Possibly. Other antimalarial medicines are available. However, if Malarone® is recommended, this is because it is the best drug to prevent malaria in the area of travel, or is needed to treat a malaria infection.
Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and need to travel should speak to their GP or local travel clinic to find out which antimalarial medicine is best.

What if I prefer not to take Malarone® during pregnancy?

If possible, travel to areas with malaria should be avoided during pregnancy. If travel is essential, any recommended antimalarial drugs should be taken as advised by a GP or travel clinic. It is important that these medicines are taken carefully to ensure that they work properly.

As well as taking antimalarial medicines, women should avoid mosquito bites by measures such as wearing a DEET-based insect repellent, covering up bare skin with clothing as much as possible, avoiding being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active, and using bed nets which have been treated with insect repellent.

Will I or my baby need extra monitoring?

As part of routine antenatal care in the UK, women are invited for a very detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy to check the baby’s development. No further scans to check for birth defects will be required due to use of Malarone®, although women who have had a malaria infection in pregnancy will be offered extra monitoring of the baby’s growth and wellbeing.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

 If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from

How can I help to improve drug safety information for pregnant women in the future?

Our online reporting system allows women with a current or previous pregnancy to create a digitally secure ‘my bumps record’. You will be asked to enter information about your health, whether or not you take any medicines, and your pregnancy outcome. You can update your details at any time during pregnancy or afterwards. This information will help us better understand how medicines affect the health of pregnant women and their babies. Please visit to register.

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General information 

Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.  They describe the chance of these events happening for any pregnancy before taking factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, her lifestyle, medicines she takes and the genetic make up of her and the baby’s father into account.

Medicines use in pregnancy

Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby.  There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development.  How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If you are on regular medication you should discuss these effects with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy.

When deciding whether or not to use a medicine in pregnancy you need to weigh up how the medicine might improve your and/or your unborn baby’s health against any possible problems that the drug may cause. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.   

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information. We strongly advise that printouts should NOT be kept for any length of time, or for “future reference” as they can rapidly become out of date.

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