Home > Online Clinic News > Larium Gets Black Box Warning in US

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by Robert MacKay, Sunday, August 25, 2013 | Categories: Malaria Treatments

According to new guidelines released by the FDA, the malaria treatment, Lariam, is to have a black box warning on it. This is because publicised cases and mounting research has indicated that the drug causes severe neurological and psychiatric side effects.

It has repeatedly been argued that the drugs neuro-toxic effects increase permanent risk for brain injury and that side effects such as depression, anxiety, nightmares, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations can at best only affect the person taking the drugs and at worst have severe consequences for individuals in that person’s surroundings. As an example, it is worth mentioning that the drug has been implicated in assault and murder cases where the hallucinations may have led to the offences.

Currently, the drug is still in use by the US military, but its use is restricted and it is only to be used as a last resort. It is also still available in some travel clinics and appears to be the third most prescribed anti-malaria treatment in the US. One of the reasons for its popularity has been the fact that it only needs to be taken once a week rather than on a daily basis.

Although these side effects are alarming, it is worth pointing out that they are not news for most travellers or clinicians. The Online Clinic has not prescribed this medication for a number of years as we do not believe that the benefits outweigh the risks when there are alternatives available.

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