A drug directed against malaria. The original antimalarial agent was quinine which took its name from the Peruvian Indian word "kina" meaning "bark of the tree." A large and complex molecule, quinine is the most important alkaloid found in cinchona bark. Until World War I, it was the only effective treatment for malaria. In fact, quinine was the first chemical compound to be successfully used to treat an infectious disease. Quinine was isolated in cystalline form in 1820 by J.B. Caventou and P.J. Pelletier. In one of the classical achievements of synthetic organic chemistry, R.B. Woodward and W. Doering first made synthetic quinine in 1944. Quinine acts by interfering with the growth and reproduction of the Plasmodium, the malarial parasite that lives within the victim's red blood cells. Quinine causes the parasites to disappear from the blood and the symptoms of the disease are thereby alleviated. However, when quinine treatment ends, many patients relapse. They suffer another attack of malaria due to the failure of quinine to kill the malarial parasites in cells of the body other than the red blood cells. These parasites persist and, after a time, they reinvade the red blood cells and precipitate the relapse. Since quinine does not permanently cure malaria, better drugs were sought. A number were discovered that replaced quinine during and after World War II. Some of these drugs (such as chloroquine and chloroguanide) are more effective than quinine in suppressing the growth of the blood forms of the malarial parasite. Others (such as primaquine and pyrimethamine) act upon both the blood and tissue phases of the parasite, producing a complete cure and preventing a relapse.
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1. Preventing or curing malaria. 2. A chemotherapeutic agent that inhibits or destroys malarial parasites.

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an·ti·ma·lar·i·al -mə-'ler-ē-əl or an·ti·ma·lar·ia -ē-ə adj serving to prevent, check, or cure malaria
antimalarial n an antimalarial drug

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an·ti·ma·lar·i·al (an″te-) (an″ti-mə-larґe-əl) 1. therapeutically effective against malaria. 2. an agent having this quality.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • antimalarial — [an΄tīmə ler′ē əl, an΄tēmə ler′ē əl, an΄timə ler′ē əl] adj. preventing or relieving malaria n. an antimalarial drug * * * an·ti·ma·lar·i·al (ăn tē mə lârʹē əl, ăn tī ) adj. Preventing or relieving the symptoms of malaria. n. A drug used to treat… …   Universalium

  • antimalarial — [an΄tīmə ler′ē əl, an΄tēmə ler′ē əl, an΄timə ler′ē əl] adj. preventing or relieving malaria n. an antimalarial drug …   English World dictionary

  • Antimalarial — An ti*ma*la ri*al ([a^]n t[i^]*m[.a]*l[=a] r[i^]*al), a. Good against malaria. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • antimalarial — noun a medicinal drug used to prevent or treat malaria • Syn: ↑antimalarial drug • Hypernyms: ↑antiprotozoal, ↑antiprotozoal drug • Hyponyms: ↑chloroquine, ↑mefloquine, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • antimalarial — adjective Date: 1884 serving to prevent, control, or cure malaria • antimalarial noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • antimalarial — adjective used to prevent malaria. noun an antimalarial drug …   English new terms dictionary

  • antimalarial — /ˌæntiməˈlɛəriəl/ (say .anteemuh lairreeuhl) adjective 1. preventive of or efficacious against malaria. –noun 2. an antimalarial agent …   Australian-English dictionary

  • antimalarial — 1. noun agent that prevents or counteracts malaria 2. adjective preventing or counteracting malaria …   Wiktionary

  • antimalarial — adj. serving to prevent or cure malarial fever …   English contemporary dictionary

  • antimalarial — an·ti·ma·lar·i·al …   English syllables

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