What Is Lariam?
Lariam is the commercial name for the anti-malaria drug Mefloquine, which is currently being used by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mefloquine or Lariam has a broad range of physical and psychological side effects. It is a large white pill that comes in a foil blister pack and is taken once per week during exposure to malaria and for a month afterward. There are other anti-malarial drugs the in use by the military, but the preference has been for Mefloquine since approved by the FDA in 1989.
What are the Signs, Symptoms, and Negative Effects of Ingesting Lariam?
Some current and former troops sent to Iraq claim that Lariam has provoked violent and dangerous behavior. Some military families blame the drug for the suicides of their loved ones. Lariam toxicity often produces dizziness and other vestibular symptoms along with tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
What Should I Do If Had Taken Lariam?
Check your medical records for "Mefloquine" or "Lariam." Unfortunately, anti-malarial medication is not recorded routinely in service personnel's medical records. If you think you took it and it's not in your records, check with your corpsman/medic. It might be recorded in their dispensing logs. See if you or anyone in your unit has any leftover pills. Finally, check with your buddies and see if they have any documentation (medical records, corpsman's logs) that you all were taking Mefloquine. If you don’t have any documentation, make your own detailed record of what you were given and told to ingest: how many and how often. Also include any side effects you encountered. Download the Mefloquine side effects questionnaire from Lariam Action USA: http://www.lariaminfo.org/pdfs/side_effects_questionnaire.pdf. Fill it out and make copies.
What Do I Do if I am Suffering Adverse Side Effects from Lariam?
Consult a physician for a diagnosis and/or treatment. You may have to go outside the military for this.
Write a one-page letter to the Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington D.C. Include a very brief chronology of your experience on Mefloquine, including any side effect warnings you were/were not given, how you were given the drug, who gave you the drug, and your side effects. The Senator has been collecting such letters from military personnel and civilians from all over the country with Mefloquine damage. Fax your letter to: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Attn: Maeve Townsend, 202-228-3954
IVAW is open to Active Duty, National Guard and Reservists who have served since 09/11/2001. You are not alone.