Lariam, also known as mefloquine hydrochloride, is indicated for the treatment as well as the prevention of mild to moderate acute malaria infections. Transmitted by the bite of a mosquito, malaria infects a person's red blood cells causing mass destruction due to the release of toxic substances by the parasite. Lariam is usually taken by travelers visiting regions where the disease is widespread: Central and South America, Hispaniola, the Indian subcontinent, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Oceania.
Made by the pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, the anti-protozoal drug
was cleared for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1989. Since its introduction, Lariam has been prescribed to over 22 million people worldwide. Common side effects of Lariam use include, but may not be limited to, anxiety
, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, nausea, dizziness
and vision problems
. The use of Lariam with quinine or quinidine may result in cardiac arrest.
Lariam has been linked to neuropsychiatric adverse events such as emotional problems
and visual and auditory hallucinations
. A recent investigation by reporters with United Press International revealed the drug's association with depression
and suicide. According to their report, the FDA has tracked at least a dozen suicides and over 100 cases of depression among Lariam users. The administration, though, told investigators that because of a lack of scientific evidence linking Lariam to suicide and mental disorders, the drug could not be blamed for all of the cases.In September 2002, Roche Pharmaceuticals added a new warning to the label of Lariam that alerts consumers to the drug's possible link to suicide. According to the FDA, Roche added the warning to "heighten awareness" of the medication's side effects after receiving reports of 11 suicides by people taking Lariam.
In October 2003, FDA and Roche notified healthcare professionals of the introduction of the Lariam Medication Guide (MedGuide). The Lariam MedGuide was developed in collaboration with the FDA to help travelers better understand the risks of malaria, the risks and benefits associated with taking Lariam to prevent malaria, and the rare but potentially serious psychiatric adverse events associated with use of the drug. As required by law, a Lariam Medication Guide is supplied to patients each time Lariam is
dispensed. Patients should be instructed to read the MedGuide when Lariam is received.
See your doctor if you have experienced an adverse reaction after taking Lariam. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Anti-Protozoal Drugs: Overview
- Anxiety Disorders & Panic Attacks: Overview
- Balance Problems: Overview
- Depression: Overview
- Eye Disorders
- Hallucinations: Overview
- Nausea: Overview
- Seizures: Overview
- Sleep Disorders: Overview