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October 1999 Vol. 14, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Should I Take Lariam?

from the October, 1999 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

While the progress that’s been made toward a malaria vaccine is certainly good news, the bad news is that Lariam (mefloquine) is still the recommended antimalarial for travelers to the many areas where chloroquineresistant malaria is common — and that even Lariam seems to be losing its punch in some of those areas. We’ve written about Lariam in the past and so have many of our readers, and, except for the fact that it dramatically reduces the risk of contracting malaria, no one has much that’s good to say about it.

The organization Lariam Action USA (phone 510-663-5168, e-mail, website is an information service for people who have questions about Lariam as well as a support group for Lariam sufferers who contact them. It’s worth mentioning that the “suggskelly” in “” is a law firm, Suggs & Kelly, that has filed suits against Hoffmann-LaRoche, Lariam’s manufacturer, on behalf of individuals who report serious long-term side effects from Lariam. However, the site is much more than high-tech ambulance-chasing, and it provides a great deal of useful information on Lariam.

According to the website, since January, 1997, Lariam Action USA has been contacted by nearly 450 people who have reported serious Lariamrelated side effects. (Common side effects include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, and sleep disturbances.) The website includes information about who shouldn’t take Lariam (people who have had seizures, depression/mood disorders, liver problems, pregnant women, those taking other antimalarials, and some others) and people who should use it with caution (those who take medication for or have a history of psychiatric illness, heart trouble, blood clotting disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, or kidney disease) as well as other information including side effects and alternative treatments.

More information about travelers’ risk of malaria and other diseases as well as the recommended malarial prophylaxis for destinations worldwide is available from the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT). Membership in IAMAT is free, and most info is available at no charge or at nominal cost. For more information, contact IAMAT, 417 Center Street, Lewiston, NY 14092 (phone 716-754-4883, website

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