U.S. Veterans Affairs recognizes long-term toxic effects of anti-malaria drug Mefloquine (Lariam)

Dr. Remington Nevin and the Lariam Organization in the United States have been working tirelessly to bring attention to the toxic adverse effects associated with the anti-malaria drug, Mefloquine (Lariam). Thanks to their persistence,  U.S. Veterans Affairs is now acknowledging the problem and offering assistance to American veterans suffering long-term effects. What is it going to take for Veterans Affairs Canada and DND to step up and recognize their responsibility in causing the suffering of many Canadian soldiers and vets who were given mefloquine during deployments to Somalia, the Gulf War, Rwanda, Cambodia, and Afghanistan? What you see below is copied from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. BONNIE


Mefloquine (Lariam®)

Mefloquine (brand name: Lariam®) is a drug that has been given to military personnel, including those serving in Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, for protection against malaria. Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Mefloquine is also used for travelers visiting areas where malaria is found, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Mefloquine was approved by the FDAin May 1989.If you are concerned about mefloquine use or long-term side effects from taking mefloquine, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

Mefloquine side effects

Hand holding a foil blister pack with small white pills

Most people who take mefloquine do not experience side effects. For those who do, symptoms are usually mild and do not last long because the drug quickly leaves the body after the medication is stopped. People with liver problems, or those who drink alcohol or take medications that affect the liver, may take longer to eliminate mefloquine.

Occasionally, mefloquine may cause more serious side effects. Examples include psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, depression, mood changes, hallucinations, agitation, and unusual behavior. Other uncommon side effects may include muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, and lung problems such as pneumonitis (inflammation of lung tissue). Rare cases of suicidal thoughts have been reported.

If you are thinking about suicide, seek appropriate care immediately.  Contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or through online chat.*†

Health concerns?

If you are concerned about mefloquine use or long-term side effects from taking mefloquine, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator. Veterans not enrolled in the VA health care system, find out if you qualify for VA health care.

VA benefits

Veterans may be eligible for VA disability compensation benefits and health care benefits for health problems associated with mefloquine use during military service.

More on malaria and mefloquine



About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan vets, Canadian Armed Forces, Homecoming Vets, mental illness, suicide, veterans' affairs, veterans' assistance programs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to U.S. Veterans Affairs recognizes long-term toxic effects of anti-malaria drug Mefloquine (Lariam)

  1. Richard Lester says:

    I am very certain that this drug cost me my first marriage, a woman that I loved very deeply

  2. anthony marshall says:

    i took lariam when i was in somalia. i still have problems because of it. when will i be able to get a 100% rating becuase of it?

  3. Anthony, I can’t answer that question. Are you Canadian or American? If American, call the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to see what you need to do to qualify. If Canadian, we’re all up a creek because Veterans Affairs Canada has never recognized the toxic adverse effects of mefloquine.


    • anthony marshall says:

      I am former us marine I currently have a pending claim for lariam toxicity and another for an increase for ptsd. thanks for the reply

  4. Bonnie,
    I applaud the tireless job that you and Dr. Nevin ( and many others) are doing to educate the world about the dangers of LARIUM and MEFLOQUINE. While serving on active duty in 1991 as a Marine I took Mefloquine for 12 weeks while participating in the Mefloquine Project. Since that experience my inner soul is damaged and my life has never been the same. I am currently working with the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs who serve as my health provider to assist me with this critical issue. I am not subscribed to Facebook. Thanks again, Mark

  5. Mark, thank you for your comment. I truly appreciate it. Keep an eye on Dr. Nevin’s website in case he comes up with new information that can help you. http://www.remingtonnevin.com

  6. Anna says:

    Any neurotoxicologist and pharmacologist worth contacting for a report on lariam toxicity? What tests do you need to “prove” toxicity? Retinal pix show typical bull’s eye retinopathy 17 years later!!

    • Mark Congdon says:


      Thanks for your tireless efforts and the superb website that you administer.

      As a U.S. Vet I will continue to work with Dr. Remington Nevin on this critical issue and as you have advised.

      Thank You!

    • Again, Anna, I don’t know. You need to ask Dr. Remington Nevin. He is also releasing a book soon. One chapter is devoted to the effects of mefloquine (Lariam) and the confusing cross symptoms of PTSD.

  7. Doug Walker says:

    What anti- malaria drug was used in VN…we had a large orange pill which gave everyone the trots (once a week) and a small white one (one a day).

  8. I have been a part of the Lariam support group on Facebook and i just shared this article. i was screened for mefloquine toxicity at the Palo Alto CA WRIISC in Jan 2014..and while a lot of my symptoms fit the listed long term effects..they said i did NOT suffer from it…but i will add it to my next compensation filing. https://www.facebook.com/groups/3428788154/


  10. Lariam (Meloflourquin) is a type of Quinlone other Quins are cipro (Cipro floxin) Avelox(monfloxin)Levaquin(Levofloxin) These meds have been linked to all sorts of health issues that are further compounded with the use of other medications such as NSAIDs and cortosteriods like pregenzone

  11. Juan Garza says:

    I am scheduled this week for health related exams for many issues. I am going to ask about this Mefloquine (Larium) I remember taking some type of malaria pill when I went over seas to the Middle East , but it was a little white one and it gave you the trots. This site is very helpful , thank you.

    • We’re glad we could help. Have you seen my latest blog with the announcement of Dr. Nevin’s inclusion of one chapter on the neural toxicity of mefloquine and confusion with PTSD in diagnosing the adverse effects. You can download the chapter if you click on the link in his promotion. Good luck!!

  12. Greg Moran says:

    i took mafloquine in Somalia 1993. i have had facial pain , lower back pain , shooting nerve pain, headaches, ear pain that have only gotten worse the 26 years after returning. i can’t find reasonable study’s covering physical symptoms. i have no family history of those problems any CNS problems or of type 2 diabetes i developed in 1999. other then other veterans testimonies of problems like mine and onset of diabetes type2 5-8 years after taking the mefloquine . Not much i can find. please help. this pill has ruined my life. My PTSD rating is 70% the psychological affects from the pill are all covered in my PTSD claim. I know the physical symptoms are related.

    • Greg, you need to contact Dr. Remington Nevin for help. He is with John Hopkins and still researching mefloquine toxic effects. You can email him at rnevin1@jhu.edu or you can phone him at 1-410-428-6991.
      Address: Remington L. Nevin, MD, MPH, DrPH
      Postdoctoral Fellow, Occupational and Environmental Medicine
      Department of Environmental Health and Engineering
      Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
      615 N. Wolfe St.
      Baltimore, MD 21205

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