Getting to know Lariam (Mefloquine)

With international travel to malaria risk areas on the rise and a whole host of different malaria prevention medication available, it is understandable that sometimes it is difficult to decide which medication is right for you.
To help with this problem, here at TravelPharm we have devised a series of blog posts which aim to help you make an informed decision regarding which antimalarial medication is right for you.

Why do you need antimalarials?

In brief, Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite which is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito in certain parts of the world. It can be fatal- so it is important you get protected if you are travelling to a risk area.

It is also important to check which antimalarials are recommended for the area you intend to visit as different areas of the world display resistance to certain medications. To check this please use our malaria risk map.

What is in Lariam tablets?

Lariam tablets contain a drug called Mefloquine at a dose of 250mg.

How does Lariam work?

The mode of action of Lariam tablets is not fully determined. However, they have been used safely to prevent malaria for many years.

How effective are Lariam tablets?

When used as prescribed Lariam tablets are 90% effective at preventing malaria in areas where resistance is not displayed

Is there resistance to Lariam?

There is some documented resistance to Lariam tablets; some areas of SE Asia, namely rural forested areas of Thailand which border Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos are known to display resistance to this medication. There are also sporadic reports of resistance in the Amazon Basin region of South America.

Are there any side effects of taking Lariam?

As with all medication Lariam tablets may cause side effects. The frequency and severity varies from person to person. The most common side effects are dizziness, nausea and vomiting which may improve with prolonged use of drug. Insomnia and abnormal/ vivid dreams are also common. More serious neuropsychiatric reactions are generally rare but there is evidence that depression, anxiety, panic attacks and even suicidal ideation can occur.

Who can’t use Lariam tablets?

Anyone with a history of allergy to mefloquine, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, psychosis, convulsions of any origin, severe liver impairment and black water fever cannot safely use Lariam to prevent malaria.

Does Lariam interact with other medication?

Lariam interacts with some cardiac drugs, anti-epileptics and some antimicrobial agents (amongst others). Always check with a qualified health professional before using Lariam if you take any medication at all.

How do you take Lariam?

Adults and children can both use Lariam for malaria prevention. Dosage is based on weight.

  • Adults weighing over 45kg-one tablet weekly, starting 10 days before leaving  whilst there and for four weeks after leaving the endemic area.
  • Children 5-19kg – ¼ of a tablet weekly, starting 10 days before leaving  whilst there and for four weeks after leaving the endemic area.
  • 20-30kg ½ a tablet weekly, starting 10 days before leaving  whilst there and for four weeks after leaving the endemic area.
  • 31-44kg- ¾ of a tablet weekly, starting  10 days before leaving  whilst there and for four weeks after leaving the endemic area.

Can pregnant or breast feeding mothers take Lariam?

For pregnant and breast feeding mothers Lariam is not recommended for prevention of malaria. Furthermore, women of child bearing age should use contraception whilst using Lariam and for three months after stopping.

Do I need a prescription for Lariam?

Yes. Lariam is a prescription only antimalarial so you will require a prescription from a suitably qualified person. Here at TravelPharm our team consists of an independent prescriber experienced in the use of Lariam who can prescribe this medication for you. All you will need to do is complete a short questionnaire which allows our prescribers to check you are suitable for just £10 with no need to visit a doctor.

What happens when I finish the course of Lariam tablets?

When you have completed the course of Lariam tablets your treatment is complete. However, there is a very small chance you can still contract malaria despite using the tablets as prescribed. If you develop signs of fever, diarrhoea and sickness up to 1 year after you return home you need to see your GP and mention that you travelled to a malaria risk area.

Yes. Lariam is a prescription only antimalarial so you will require a prescription from a suitably qualified person. Here at Travel Pharm our team consists of an independent prescriber experienced in the use of Lariam who can prescribe this medication for you. All you will need to do is complete a short questionnaire which allows our prescribers to check you are suitable for just £10 with no need to visit a doctor.

You can buy your Lariam tablets online as well as range of travel medicines and accessories for your trip.

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