The Mefloquine Controversy: Is this anti-malaria drug dangerous to your health long-term?


INTRODUCTION: After years of collecting data about the anti-malaria drug mefloquine (Lariam), I can now write a summary report based on the most significant findings of dedicated doctors concerned about what is happening to a large number of travellers as well as military troops assigned to countries where malaria dominates. Malaria is a terrible disease and the most virulent form kills the victim who does not receive a non-resistant form of treatment, but there are modern safer alternatives to give to the population at large.   BONNIE TOEWS
 
PROOF SOLDIERS WERE ISSUED MEFLOQUINE ALONG WITH OTHER ANTI-MALARIA DRUGS 

Major scientific investigations since 1992 clearly indicate adverse effects of mefloquine (Lariam) are severe enough to warrant banning the anti-malaria drug as a preventative treatment for travellers or troops embarking into zones where malaria dominates. Because of a genetic predisposition to brain damage when taking this drug, it is impossible to assess who will suffer the worst of mefloquine’s adverse effects, including liver and thyroid damage leading to death.

One of the foremost experts on the investigation into the pros and cons of mefloquine is Dr. Remington Nevin. As recent as October 10, 2010, Dr. Nevin reveals these findings:

Dr. Remington Nevin, public health physician and epidemiologist currently serving as a Major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
“Although mefloquine has generally been considered safe for use, it has become increasingly clear that — similar to what is seen with the breed-specific neurotoxicity of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin among Border Collies —  among certain people, likely as a result of a particular genetic variation in the MDR1 gene, mefloquine accumulates in the brain, where it results in dose-dependent injury to the brainstemand emotional centers.
 
“When these neurotoxic injuries occur, the results can be dramatic and frightening. The medical literature documents a seemingly endless array of harmful adverse reactions, including mania, panic disorder and depression, psychosis  and  suicide, occurring among the miserable minority who prove susceptible to these harms. Many of these reactions result in long-term, chronic disability; similar to what is seen with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
 
Essentially, there is an invisible lethal predisposition for individuals who are treated with Lariam or mefloquine. No one knows if they will suffer adverse effects until they take it. Then it’s too late.  
 
Dr. Nevin continues: “In recognition of these dangers, which have taken fully 20 years to become generally accepted, many experienced western militaries, including France and the United States, now all but prohibit the use of mefloquine among their forces. In those rare instances where mefloquine is still used, it is now prescribed only with extreme care; both to rule out the presence of contraindicating neuropsychiatric conditions, and to be sure that those given the drug receive the detailed warnings about prodromal neuropsychiatric symptoms necessary to use the drug safely.”
 
In 2002, Ashley M. Croft and Andrew Herxheimer of the Surgeon General’s Department in Great Britain’s Ministry of Defence, published a paper in the online March 25 issue of BMC Public Health. They found that the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. and their Canadian equivalent, CATMAT, did not recognize the contraindication to taking mefloquine recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) based on the drug manufacturer’s own case studies published in 1992 by Hoffmann-La Roche.
 
From the U.S. Army’s first use of mefloquine as a prophylaxis in 1985 to 2002, they reported “approximately 14.5 million people were prescribed the drug for malaria prevention, versus 1.6 million for treatment.”
 
Their analysis of 516 spontaneous reports collected at the time suggests there is a mefloquine syndrome consisting of excessive sweating accompanied by malaise, nausea, diarrhea, agitation, concentration problems and nightmares. In talking to today’s Canadian Afghan vets who took mefloquine through their deployments during the past nine years, diarrhea is a consistent and apparently long-term complaint.
 
Even more alarming is the connection Croft and Herxheimer make between mefloquine and liver and thyroid damage. From their 516 published case reports of mefloquine adverse effects, they conclude many of the adverse effects of mefloquine are a post-hepatic syndrome caused by primary liver damage. They suggest symptomatic thyroid disturbance occurs, either independently or as a secondary consequence to the liver damage.
 
Mefloquine induces liver enzymes, which Croft and Herxheimer say occur when mefloquine users become dehydrated. This imposes an added burden on the liver, and contributes to a severe reaction to the drug. “Many long-haul travellers using mefloquine are mildly dehydrated from in-flight alcohol and air conditioning, followed by hot and dry conditions, and more alcohol consumption, at their holiday or business destination.”
 
They further note the liver biopsies of two travelers – one man and one woman as part of the 516 cases they studied. Both were on mefloquine just before they died and showed significant liver damage. “The mefloquine syndrome presents in a variety of ways including headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, nervousness, fatigue, disorders of sleep, mood, memory and concentration, and occasionally frank psychosis. Previous liver or thyroid disease, and concurrent insults to the liver (such as from alcohol, dehydration, an oral contraceptive pill, recreational drugs, and other liver-damaging drugs) may be related to the development of severe or prolonged adverse reactions to mefloquine.”
 
  
NOTE: For those who do take mefloquine, it is recommended that they must drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. They must NOT drink alcohol while on the anti-malaria treatment nor take such rememdies as motion sickness pills like Gravol or anti-diarrhea medication like Amodium as these remedies further block the drug from safely passing out of the brain and through the body. Better still, since you don’t know if you’re one of the ones with a genetic predisposition to develop adverse effects, refuse to take mefloquine. The alternatives doxycycline or malarone do not involve high risk to the user. BONNIE
 
REFERENCES: 1. BMC Public Health. 2002; 2: 6.
Published online 2002 March 25. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-2-6. PMCID: PMC101408
Copyright © 2002 Croft and Herxheimer; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.  The search strategy for finding the case reports is described in the review.[26] An annotated bibliography of the 516 published reports can be found at http://www.liv.ac.uk/evidence
2. Dr. Remington Nevin – http://web.me.com/remington.nevin/Remington_Nevin/Blog/Blog.html

LATEST FINDINGS: Dr. Nevin makes his presentation about his recent research on the epidemiology and pathophysiology of mefloquine neuropsychiatric side effects. Related research available at: http://www.remingtonnevin.com. Further information on vestibular testing available at: http://www.vestibular.org.

46 Responses to The Mefloquine Controversy: Is this anti-malaria drug dangerous to your health long-term?

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  6. Tracey says:

    In 1999, I went on a 2 week trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to help build a medical clinic. I was prescribed mefloquine as a means of preventing malaria. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced any adverse effects to the drug. I was 19 years old at the time. For those who experience adverse effects, does it usually happen immediately after taking the drug? Is there any evidence of adverse effects being associated with certain age groups? Thank you in advance for your reply.

  7. Tracy, since mefloquine reactions occur almost immediately with women (right after the first dose) — takes slightly longer with men — but yes, the reactions begin to appear during the first doses. So far I have not read that age is a defining factor in reacting to the drug. It is whether you are genetically predisposed to a reaction. If you are, the body can’t pass the drug out of the system even with lots of water. Instead, the drug starts to accumulate at the synapses of the brain and when it reaches a toxic level it becomes a neurological toxin that damages the nerve ends where the drug collects. Research so far indicates that behavior disorders, disassociative disorders, mood swings, insomnia, mania, paranoia, vertigo, hallucinations, suicide impulses plus damage to the thyroid and liver are the most common reactions noted.

  8. sergio says:

    They started making our unit the 1-501st ABN out of FT. Richardson Alaska take mefloquine two weeks prior to us deploying to Afghanistan in 2002 and continue the use of it through out our deployment. after the 4th week i woke up and could not feel my legs, it did wear off and I was pulled off that crap asap.

    • Thanks for describing what happened to you. We need more testimonials from Canadian and American veterans this drug affected. Bonnie

      ________________________________

      • Aaron Burkman says:

        While on active duty I was prescribed Mefloquine for a deployment to Central America in 2000-2001. I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and again in 2003, prescribed Mefloquine both times. In 2004 I was sent back to Central America for a year, and again prescribed Mefloquine. I had always known about the side effects, and while taking the drug I experienced frequent vivid dreams/nightmares, anger/irritability and hallucinations. What concerns me is the fact I still have the occasional hallucination, bouts of sudden onset anger/ irritability, and I continue to have incredibly vivid dreams/nightmares. Is there information out regarding the potential long term effects of this drug.

  9. Sadie says:

    When I was 9 years old I went to Ghana, West Africa for one month. I was prescribed mefloquine to prevent malaria. My family was warned about the adverse side effects and since my eldest brother had a history of anxiety/paranoia, he was prescribed doxy. The rest of my family took mefloquine. Fairly early on in the trip, my mom noticed she was having difficulty sleeping, had no appetite and generally just felt off, so she switched to Doxy. My 2 other siblings noted colorful dreams, but that was about it. I, on the other hand, experienced severe side effects. At age 9, I didn’t know what was happening to me and I never once crossed my mind that it could be the mefloquine that was making me crazy. I thought I was just reacting strangely to this new environment and that I was probably just really homesick. When I was in Ghana, I cried basically every day for no apparent reason. I was almost always nauseous. I was completely paranoid. I worried about everything. If my mom left my side, I would start crying (very unlike me). I couldn’t sleep, especially by myself. I remember one night in particular, I was laying in bed trying to sleep and I convinced myself that there were insects crawling inside my body. I could feel them. I was able to convince myself of the most ridiculous things. I convinced myself that I got stung by a jellyfish with no visible wound whatsoever. I convinced myself there was a small pebble in my head that would bounce around as I did. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I literally went crazy. I don’t think that was a fair thing to happen to a little girl. To this day, I do not think I have fully recovered (I’m 19 now). I became a completely different person after that. I don’t think mefloquine should be used by anyone.

  10. Sadie, I am so sorry to hear about your experience with mefloquine. I have found that taking natural CoQ10 helps reduce left-over symptoms. You start with low amounts — 30 mg. and work up to 50 and then 100 mg. You’ll be unaware of any benefits at first but gradually you will notice that you feel better. Also avoid anything with niacin in it (from the B group of vitamins — in commercially made bread and pasta ) especially after your experience with “crawling skin.” Some people are allergic to niacin — like peanuts, it can kill anyone sensitive to it.

    Bonnie

  11. karatonym says:

    Have there been any studies on Mefloquine that shows any link to cancers?

  12. Not that I know of, but I will ask your question of the Facebook group.

    Bonnie

  13. Michelle says:

    My brother worked in Afghanistan with the troops until 2011 and comitted suicide when he came home in 2012. Please take this stuff off the market! Thank you for your time.

  14. occupedia.nl says:

    Would you mind if I quote a couple of your blog posts as long as I provide credit and sources returning to your
    site: https://homecomingvets.com/the-mefloquine-controversy-is-this-anti-malaria-drug-dangerous-to-your-health-long-term/.
    I’ll aslo ensure to give you the appropriate anchor text link using your website title: The Mefloquine Controversy: Is this anti-malaria drug dangerous to your health long-term? | Homecoming Vets at the Crossroads of Humanity. Be sure to let me know if this is ok with you. Thanks!

    • You have my permission and thanks. Bonnie

      Good health and happy trails! Bonnie Toews Phone: 289-337-8004 World War II Spy Novel hailed “unforgettable and irresistible.” A page-turner! One woman betrayed, the other sacrificed in a chain reaction of double crosses that alters the outcome of the war.

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      … Let’s continue to send trucks loaded with hugs to our TROOPS

  15. You have my permission and thank you.

    Bonnie

  16. Lynn says:

    Hi Bonnie, I’m a returned peace corps volunteer from Zambia. I took mefloquine consistently for over two years. I’ve been home for three years now, but have been concerned about effects from takingnthisndrug for so long. I’ve had major bouts of depression and random memory loss- significant events from the past that I know happened but can not remember. Was curious if this could all be related.

  17. Lynn, the possibility can’t be dismissed. This drug does cause brain damage. Note references to Dr. Remington Nevin in the article above. You can visit his website at http://www.remingtonnevin.com

    The only thing I can advise is to take CoQ10 (best quality is in natural health stores) because I know it has helped others, but the improvement does not happen immediately. It takes time. Start off with low dosage and work up to an effective amount — could be 30 mg. to 200 mg.

    My heart goes out to you.

    Bonnie

  18. Hello. I served with 3rd Battalion 9th Marines 1st MARDIV during Operation Restore Hope 92/93. I took mefloquine (Lariam) the entire time I was there and for a short time upon return. I have experienced mild side effects since, nothing major, but I have an 11-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with supra ventricular tachycardia at 10 months (in 2002).
    I realize that cardiac problems can stem from the use of this drug, but is it even remotely possible that my daughter contracted this condition from me taking it 8 years before she was born? No one one either my wife’s or my own family have heart conditions. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  19. I sincerely hope not, Dean, but it may be one of those things that we don’t know. To affect your child, I would imagine the drug would have to alter the genes in your DNA. Have you talked to other vets who were on Larium to find out if their children have been have been affected with heart conditions? Again the one to ask is Dr. Remington Nevin at http://www.remingtonnevin.com. He also needs to be made aware that there may be an hidden inherited factor.
    Bonnie

  20. steve says:

    I deployed to Afghanistan in December 2002 with a small contingent of 23 other soldiers.We were all prescibed Mefloquine and “forced” to take I or suffer non- judicial punishment if we contracted malaria. Several of us complianed of random and short term memory loss, anxiety and mood swings. None of us were sure if the symptoms were due to Mefloquine or the Anthrax shots that were also adiministered at intervals throughout the year. Both prophylaxisis seem to cause side effects but of course it was difficult to determine what drug was causing what effect. I also witnessed several soldiers within our small unit go through dramatic mood swings, euphoric episodes and overall general changes to their personality over time. Most of the personality changes appeared to be related to anger, moodiness, short temperment, aggression and paranoia. I have no doubt that mefloquine is a dangerous drug and does cause significant psychological or mental/emotional disorders in most people who take it. My main symptoms were paranoia, random short term memory loss and overall general anxiety.

  21. According to Dr. Remington Nevin, those who cannot pass the drug through their system are genetically predisposed to the drug accumulating at the ends of their neurons in their brain where the drug grows to become a neural toxin and then actually damages the brain. No one knows who is vulnerable until they have taken the drug. Then it is too late to counteract. Have your symptoms weakened and disappeared, Steve? Did you and have you also suffered from insomnia?

  22. Matthew says:

    Hello

    Just thought Id share my story in the hopes that it may help someone out there who has suffered or might still suffer the side effects of Mefloquine aka Larium. So they have a better understanding of what to expect and what not to do, as I learnt the hard way.

    I was 29 fit and strong and had never had any psychiatric issue before using this toxic poisen Larium.

    In Dec 2009 I went to work in Sierra Leone on a bio fuel project growing sugar cane. It was a 2 half month stint and was my first time there. I did not take any anti malarial drugs with me besides the emergency tablets once malaria is contracted. I became concerned about contracting malaria after a few of the fellow travelers I met there had told me of the strong and virulent cerebral malaria that was in the area. My folks had also just been there and got bad malaria but had not taken Larium. The Caucasians there where mostly foreign aid NGO workers nurses doctors etc. One of the dutch doctors then said that some of them where taking Larium and offered me some enough for my 2 and half month stay. She said if I have bad dreams to stop taking them this was all the info that I was given as it was an un-marked yellow dispensing packet with no warning info at all.

    Some weeks after taking the Larium as recommended one a week I experienced mild dizziness and and odd un easy feeling but this went away soon. I put it down to the extreme heat. I drank on the odd occasion and on the new year of 2010. The very last week of prophylaxis treatment the day I was due to come back to South Africa I experienced terrible weakness and partial paralysis with severe dizziness, muscle cramping and extremely upset stomach. As the day went on I could not eat anything and a British business man on the same flight had to help me to get on board as I was almost unable to walk and stand up. This is when my head felt like it was going to explode due to severe temple pressure and a band around my head was like it was in a vice. Once off the chopper and at the main airport just outside of Freetown I met a swiss nurse who gave me water and paracetamol as I was sweating profusely. I managed to get to Nairobi, Kenya and began to feel better. After 23 hours flying landed back in South Africa. I didnt know what was wrong still at this stage. I was at all times extremely paranoid and had high anxiety. As I was very unsure what was wrong this continued through out 2010.

    My folks and fiance where very relieved to see I was okay. But this was only the beginning of my ordeal. The next day I had a panic attack and almost past out, then the local GP doctors gave me more Larium without checking that I was suffering side effects already!! He told me I could have malaria. And proceeded to inject me with tranquilizer. That night severe insomnia started and a psychosis set in. I was then in a terrible state and gradually regressed was given more synthetic quinine based antibiotics Cipro-floxacin due to my stomach complaints I got much worse and was sent to a psychiatrist who admitted me for 3 days it was my fiance who shortly before this read on lariuminfo.org that it was this drug that caused my situation. I was put onto tranquilzers and anti psychotic drugs which seemed to help for 5 days until I weaned off and things got ten times worse. After tests to liver and kidney function turned out I had no damage thank God, then was sent for brain scan and nothing wrong. Psych Doctor was baffled and gave up. Insomnia and terrible psychotic type depression had set in.

    Only once I had at the beginning of 2011 gotten help to get off all the psych drugs did I start to recover from my ordeal. Took a month to learn how to sleep again. Gradually from an hour to four and then six hours a night I now can sleep the whole night through.Took 2 months for my thought processes to start returning to normal and another year to not get anxiety. Took a year and 5 months to get my stomach sorted with herbal anti parasitic.

    I know I still have some nerve damage as I get tingles still in certain situations and have periods where I feel very tired and sometimes a bit low. But I take zero medication of any kind besides vitamins and certain Ayurveda herbs which help build the nervous system and I exercise daily and eat healthily and do not drink alcohol. I am at times concerned it has not affected my heart as it now skips a beat every now and then. But this I will have checked out.

    My advise is to detox as soon as possible and go the natural route . No prescription drugs at all! And get second opinions. And please spread the word so people out there are made aware of this terrible debilitating anti malarial Mefloquine!

    Thanks for site and shares.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience, Matthew. This is indeed a terrible drug. I just came back from Tanzania and observed a young girl on doxycycline (anti-malaria drug) also experience a reaction — dizziness, burning skin, nausea, weakness. Since she was also taking the high altitude drug, she shouldn’t have been feeling this way. As soon as I saw her burnt skin, I suspected she was not tolerating doxycycline, which is a derivative of the anti-biotic tetracycline. Those who react to it should not take this anti-malaria drug. She had to be rushed down from Mt. Kilimanjaro to a waiting ambulance.

    • ursula says:

      Matthew, can I get hold of you per email I am over 3 months in severe suffering from mefloquine. want to ask you a few questions.
      Regrds
      Ursula
      from RSA
      ursulamardon@mweb.co.za

  23. Sarah says:

    I also experienced effects of mefloquine. In June of 2012 I prepared to go to West Africa to visit a peace corps friend. I went to a local doctor in Ohio and was given mefloquine with no warning of side effects. I had never been on medicine or diagnosed with any sort of psychiatric condition to this point. I started the medicine 2 weeks before I left. Week 2 while in Africa I started experiencing vivid terrifying dreams that I will never forget. My stomach also got upset and I ended up being sick and throwing up for 24 hours ( not sure if due to food). I remember becoming increasingly frightened and paranoid of things ( i.e when we did have electricity, I was scared to plug items in due to fear of shock). The end of my 2 week stay there became increasingly awful. My last night there I took my 4th dose of mefloquine (and last) and started to feel “odd”. The next day I was walking with my friend and started absolutely freaking out and feeling more terrified than I ever had in my whole life, I thought people were coming after me and couldn’t stand for people to look at me.She managed to find some benzos at a local market to sedate me enough to get home. However once home the drug(Mefloquine) lasted in my system and I could not work for weeks. I had paranoias and extreme social anxiety ( I had been a very social and outgoing person prior). It tapered off but the anxiety continued at the start of grad school and worsened again due to the stress. I am so upset I ever went on the medicine because although I can not document it, I have never felt the same again. The doctor just told me to go off the medicine when I came home and never thought once about the lasting effects. I still struggle with severe panic attacks over a year later. I just wonder if this is permanent??

  24. Sarah, Matthew above has suggested trying natural ways to regain your health plus exercise. This too has worked for me. I take up to 200 mg. of CoQ10 daily but now take the faster absorbing CoQ10 as suggested by Dr. Nevin — INNO-Q-NOL (Stabilized CoQ10) 100 mg. along with 2000 mg. of Omega 3 daily. The improvement doesn’t happen overnight — I’m hoping your panic attacks will lessen with time, but eventually I believe you will notice a definite difference. It has taken three years for me but now I feel better than I have in 25 years. Don’t give up hope.

    • ursula says:

      im Ursula 45 from RSA, a mefliam sufferer for 3 months now, took only one pil. on 2 ativans for anxiety and lamictin and seraqual for moodstabiliser still low doses, stilnox for insomnia, never had problems before. anti depress didnt work, depressed and began racing thoughts and also panic, lost interest in life, feet and hand half dead left side, living in a cloud. Where do i get this INNO-Q-NOL,and Ayuveda herb? Did you totally overcome this in 3 years time? please dont tell me this can be for ever

  25. Ursula, you can get INNO-Q-NOL (stabililzed CoQ10) or CoQ10 in varying strengths — from 50 to 400 mg. per pill — in any respected health food store and these are now available in pharmacies in the vitamin supplement section. If you do get the CoQ10 direct, then you do have to start with lower amounts and work up to about 200-400 mg. per day — whichever works best for you. This is the beauty of taking the INNO-Q-NOL form of CoQ10 — you don’t have to worry about the strength. Everyone is different so I don’t know what your recovery time will be, but I do know you can expect to feel improvements within three months — sleep better, for one thing, which will help to alleviate your depression too.

    • ursula says:

      Thanks so I can use the COQ10 with the psigiatric meds? Did you recover in 3 years, please tell me how your recovery happened. Its difficuilt to get a sufferer that I can directly speak to. Wonder if this anxiety, paranoia, sleeplessness will go away? Bad memory and cant walk on a straight line, thanks for your input and time
      Ursula
      you say most people have improvement in 6 months time from last pil, l took only one and suffer like this!!

    • ursula says:

      I understand if nobody wants to discuss meds, I dont feel well with the moodstablelisers (seraqual and lamictin) anyway, or without them., so may be I will stop them. the psigiatrist is out of ideas because anti depress didnt work either, I cant go without ativan for anxiety (BEZO group) and without the stilnox to sleep (only 7 hours max think the seraqual helps to get an extra hour), I cry a lot and when I wake up between wake up and awake I get these racing thoughts (Bad – like knife stabbing, stupid things, all bad) but I wake up and forget about it. Racing thoughts before the moodstablilisers also so its not the reason. Did anyone experience racing thought? Cant concentrate and no interest in life. please tell me about your 3 years of recovery.
      thanks
      ursula
      ill try to get the Q10 thing

      • Ursula, yes, do start taking CoQ10 and Omega 3. These should not interfere with any meds you are taking, but I believe as Matthew does, that following the natural route is the best way to go because every drug also has a potential side effect in addition to the job it is designed to do. Most doctors are not familiar with either mefloquine (Lariam) and its side effects so are also not aware of ways to counteract the reaction. Many like Matthew and me have just kept trying until we found a combination that works. Mefloquine damaged my thyroid and caused insomnia, also some disassociated symptoms — which are not the same as you are experiencing. It depends where in the brain the neural toxins of the drug attack. There also many similarities of mefloquine reactions to post traumatic stress disorder and many of the psychological techniques used to treat it help those suffering with the depression and mood swings caused by mefloquine. Balancing the body back to a healthy state takes time and no one follows the same path, so I can’t predict how long it may take for you. I do know you have to be consistent and take the same amounts every day. At first there are no noticeable changes but eventually you discover you have slept one hour longer than you used to and then two more and one day you actually sleep seven or eight hours uninterrupted. Getting sufficient sleep is a big step to healing. I encourage you to get in touch with Dr. Remington Nevin to see if he has any other suggestions, but he does not take on patients — he is a researcher. You can visit his website here: http://www.remingtonnevin.com Also talk to an alternative homeopath practitioner in a health store near you.

      • Ursula Mardon says:

        Thanks for replying. My problem is also dissociation and i think bloodtests say my thyroid is suddenly overactive after mefliam. But doc doesn’t say anything about it. When did your dissociation disappear? What did you people used for depression i want to go the natural way but i don’t sleep with natural stuff at the moment, ive red so many bad cases of people that do not recover, are they more that the ones recovered? I want the truth please. The bad thing is one cant do anything to detox thats really working. The zolpidem for sleep that i use, i wonder does it keep or block the toxic of mefliam inside your brain i cant even sleep 1 minute without a tablet. The anxiety is may be the GABA receptors thats the problem, damaged permanent or hopefully not, I see some people takes 2 or 3 years. Don’t know if the depression ever leave you, i did not had any history of anything, only my dad became little dementia and bi polar after 60.

        Regards

        ursula

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  27. davosa says:

    I just came across this article and website. I formerly served with the Canadian armed forces and took mefloquine in Africa in 1991-1992. I have had permanent side effects of insomnia and PTSD since that time. I am have dealt with most of it by suppressing it from my family (they put it to dad has always been that way) but I just started getting some mental health support in January. Thanks for the post.

    • Thank you for your comment. For insomnia I can suggest that you start taking CoQ10, the most absorbable form. You will find it in a health store. It will take awhile, but eventually you will start to notice that you have longer sleep periods. I remember the first time I slept a solid eight hours after 15 years. It was an Eureka! moment. I’m glad you are getting mental health assistance. Your PTSD may also be caused by the after effects of mefloquine, since it is a proven neural toxin. Hang in there!! There are many who know what you are going through. Bonnie

  28. I also just tripped on this website on a late Sunday night cant sleep. I’ve had a hell of a journey with the nightmare drug mefloquine over the past ten years, which now finds me medically relesed from the military and taking a slew of medications to deal with a rollercoaster of psychiatrist, trips to hospital, lost time from work, the very darkest places of life.
    My Journey began in a remote airbase in Kyrgyztan while in the Air force, I began taking the drug under order of the base flight doctor as a malaria prevention. I immediately began getting very unpleasant stomach and diarrhea problems along with an odd dizzy feeling, I wnet to the sick call to be given some basic stomach medicine and was told it was just jet-lag. The problems got worse when I increasingly was becoming uneasy and anxious for the deployment to be over, though it had just begun. I though about quiting the mefloquine but was afraid I would get malaria which turned into a full blown panic that i had contracted malaria and that is why i was feeling so ill. I went back to the base clinic and told them I think i had malaria. They ran many test and said i was fine and sent me to the life skills counselor (a Lt Colonel who was absolutely clueless) he told me I was homesick and I needed to quit whining. My 6th time to the desert and 16 years of service and i was homesick??
    The panic and sleeplessness became more and more horrific, and in a deployment working 12+ hours a day everyday there was no place for recovery. I became horribly paranoid and thought the base would be attacked at any moment. I saw shadows of people watching me and the rocks moved as I walked over them, i cried and prayed and begged God for mercy. I never felt so terrified in my life. I wished death would come,I wanted to help it but knew it was wrong.
    The days of sleeplesness and my legs would tremble so badly I couldnt even lay down, I would jump up and scream and cry. One night I ran around the perimeter of the base crying and flopping around like a wild animal, I cant believe I was such an idiot, I hope no one saw. I once again went to the base clinic and asked them to tranquilize me and wake me up in time for my next shift. One doctor. Only one doctor in the whole nightmare took a moment to listen to me. I wont forget him, he saved my life, Dr. Bohnsack. He said do not take mefloquine anymore and you are on the next plane out of here.
    I got back and after several months of seeing a psychologist, i was deemed “all better” and was returned to duty. Over the next 8 years i suffered from what i just called random panic attacks that would last for a week or two and then would subside. I figured I would just continue to power through them with the help of alcohol, trips to the VA, and various doctors until i could complete my 30 years in the military (reserves dont retire after 20) and avoid any deployments the best I could.
    In November of 2012 I suffered another attack that punished me like no other, as bad as in the desert. I even wrote Dr.Remington in the middle of the attack and asked him for help because as usual everyone was clueless of what to do. He offered to help talk to my doctor but I ended up being put on Depakote1250MG, Paxil30MG, Buspirone60MG, Prazosin5MG (PRN), and Alprazalam(PRN), to which I take to this day.
    I know you guys are all excited about herbal remedies and the natural ways but let me tell you, I have tried EVERYTHING, I mean f^%#ing everything! CBT, reseting tri-meridian, talk therapy, herbal diets, breathing classes, nothing holds a candle to these meds, I havent had an attack in nearly 3 years, praise the Lord!! Dont be afraid to take meds!!! You hear me!! Yeah, you ,reading this blog in some God-foresaking part of the world, I went through it!! Fight drugs with drugs! Ask for some serious meds even if you have to take benzodiazphines to calm your ass down, like some good ol’ K-pin (Klonopin) to knock that monster down, take it! Good luck, hope this helps.

    • Thank you for this, i took lariam in 1995, and after many years the symptoms waned for awhile, but have returned again!! they now want to send me for CBT, while i suffer the shaking, panic attacks and head exploding etc i’m terrified the CBT will take me back.to THAT place!!.

      • Kitti, your doctors are trying to find what part of your brain has been damaged by the mefloquine drug so they can better figure out how to help you with meds to relieve your symptoms. Have you contacted Dr. Remington Nevin for his advice? Go to his web site — http://www.remingtonnevin.com for contact information Good luck. Bonnie

  29. Greg, thank you for your — shall we call it — testimony. You are absolutely right. For those who have such severe reactions, being assigned the right drugs to help you stabilize clearly makes sense. I’m sure Dr. Remington Nevin agrees. The problem, as you have pointed out, there are not enough medical professionals who recognize what is happening to those suffering side effects, and they can prescribe drugs that not only don’t help but can intensify your severe reaction. Thank you for listing the program of drugs that are helping you cope with the side effects now. It is only through sharing that we can help each other.

  30. I also just found your website and I’m also a lariam headcase. I was put into hospital in India a bunch of years ago after I collapsed in the street and due to the possibility of Malarial infection I was given Lariam. I had previously suffered from mainly depressive bi polar but after this I experienced periods of psychosis and mania and sever (as in when I left the hospital I had to basically try every hotel in the area I knew I was staying in until someone recognised me and asked where I’d been for most of the previous month. My memory is somewhat better now but I still often struggle to remember things that happened to me a few days to a month ago. I’m now on disability as I struggle to function without the support of my family. I’m basically a once healthy bloke in his mid 40s who is now back living with his parents because it is just too easy for me to forget important things and aside from the obvious it has also left me somewhat open to people taking advantage of me. To say that this isn’t exactly how I thought my life would be at this age is a complete understatement. They seriously need to stop handing out this drug and perhaps there even needs to be some thought put into some kind of group legal action against the companies profiting from this poison.

    • Thanks, Stuart. Have you read the book, “The Answer to the Riddle is Me” by David Stuart MacLean? In it he describes the amnesia he suffered as a result of taking Lariam (Mefloquine) while travelling in India. Some of the strategies he developed to help him regain his life may also help you.

  31. During my last deployment to Afghanistan I was taking Mefloquine as offered by the CAF for anti-malarial protection. During the deployment I began to sweat excessively, out of nowhere. 6 years later I continue to suffer. My insides routinely feel as if they’re tied in knots and I spend hours of those days in pain. My short term memory and attention span has suffered, dreams have become vivid and I am unable to reach REM sleep.

    I won’t say the drug is 100% to blame but I am not alone with the long term side effects. My social life has been negatively impacted in so many ways on top of the documented, long term effects.

    • Donnie, to try and get some quality sleep time, start taking the natural supplement — CoQ10. Start with 50 mg, and then with each refill work up to 100 mg to 150 to 200 mg. per day. Or get the most absorb-able form (you don’t have to worry about dosage) from a natural health store. CoQ10 repairs the ends of the neurons connecting your neurons to your neurological network or think of it as keeping the gears well oiled so your brain can operate more efficiently. Dr. Nevin first told me about CoQ10 in 2010 when I was suffering from insomnia, a result of taking mefloquine in Rwanda in 1994. Eventually you will be able to reach REM sleep. I went from 2 hours of sleep a night to an average of 7 hours, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took time. Bonnie

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