Do you need protection against Malaria?
Malarial infection can be life-threatening so if you are entering a malaria prevalent region, it is a good idea to take precautions with anti-malarial tablets. It is also worth noting that each antimalarial is different and while they may be effective against some species of malaria, they might not work for others. Talk to your pharmacist, doctor or travel clinic about your destination, itinerary, the risks and the best course of treatment for your trip.
What is Lariam and what is it used for?
Lariam is an antimalarial medicine used to treat and prevent the development of the malarial parasite P. falciparum in areas with antimalarial drug resistance. It contains the active substance Mefloquine hydrochloride at a dose of 250mg.
How does it work?
When an infected mosquito bites a person, it passes the parasite onto its human target. The choice of antimalarial drug depends on the sensitivity of the malaria parasite in your destination area. Lariam targets the malarial parasite and destroys it.
How do I take Lariam?
Those that have a body weight more than 45kg should take one 250mg tablet once a week on the same day, starting 2 to 3 weeks before entering the malaria-affected area, so you can be sure that you tolerate the medication well before arriving at your destination. Continue the treatment through your stay and 4 weeks after returning. It is recommended that you swallow the tablets whole with plenty of water, preferable after a meal.
How is Lariam different from Malarone?
Although they are both medications used to treat or prevent malarial development in the human body, they have different active ingredients and directions for administration. Also, Lariam has more side effects than Malarone, which are more severe as well.
Contact your doctor if:
If you get any side effects at any time during your treatment, stop taking the treatment immediately and contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Contact your doctor if you experience changes in mood and behaviour, mental problems, or fits. Other signs that you should cease taking Lariam include: suicidal thoughts, severe anxiety, feeling restless, depression, confusion, unusual behaviour, mistrusting others, self-endangering behaviour, and hallucinations.
If you are unsure of treatment with Lariam, you feel that the cautions on the medication apply to you, or if you have had any mental side effects from the medication listed on the patient information leaflet, consult your GP or pharmacist for advice.
Ask your doctor for a replacement antimalarial for as long as you are in the country where malaria is a risk.
What are the side effects of Lariam?
Lariam has more side effects than other antimalarial medications. These side effects that can affect one in ten people using the drug and include:
- stomach pain
- severe anxiety
- sleeping problems
Other side effects can include:
- fits including seizures or convulsions
- liver problems
- heart problems
- suicidal thoughts
- unusual behaviour
- mistrust towards others
- self-endangering behaviour
- changes in mood or behaviour
If you experience any of these while on treatment, stop taking Lariam immediately and contact your doctor, who can also provide you with a replacement antimalarial for the period of your stay in a malaria-prevalent region.
Can I take Lariam if I am pregnant?
You should NOT take Lariam if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are considering becoming pregnant you should wait at least 3 months after the last dose.
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.
- The patient information leaflet can be found here.