Description of Lariam

Brand Name(s): Lariam

Generic Name Mefloquine

What are mefloquine tablets?

MEFLOQUINE (Lariam®) is an antimalarial agent. Mefloquine prevents and treats malaria infection, which is transmitted by mosquitos. This drug is commonly given prior to travel to an area where malaria is a common infection. Generic mefloquine tablets are available.

What should my health care professional know before I take mefloquine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • depression or history of mental problems including anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, or psychosis (losing touch with reality)
  • eye disease
  • heart disease
  • liver disease
  • seizures (epilepsy or convulsions)
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to mefloquine, hydroxymefloquine, quinidine, quinine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take mefloquine tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take mefloquine with food and a full glass (8 ounces or 240 ml) of water. If you are taking mefloquine to prevent malaria, you should start taking it one week before entering the area, and continue for 4 weeks after leaving. Take your doses at regular intervals and on the same day of each week. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. If you are treating an acute malaria infection, you will receive a single dose of the drug. For prolonged travel in an area where malaria is common, consult your healthcare provider for proper dosing schedule.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a weekly dose, take it as soon as you can. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with mefloquine?

  • beta-blockers
  • chloroquine
  • halofantrine
  • quinidine
  • quinine
  • typhoid vaccine
  • valproic acid

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking mefloquine?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • blurred vision, or change in vision
  • fainting spells
  • fever or chills
  • hearing problems
  • headaches, confusion, or other mental changes
  • joint or muscle aches
  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • ringing in the ears
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • skin rash, itching (there may be severe itching without a rash)
  • unusual changes in heart rate or other heart problems
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • drowsiness
  • hair loss
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • mild diarrhea
  • nausea
  • stomach pain or upset

What should I watch for while taking mefloquine?

If you get a fever during or after you start taking mefloquine, do not treat yourself. Contact your healthcare provider immediately.

If you are taking mefloquine or have taken mefloquine in the past 3 weeks, you should not take halofantrine (another malarial drug). Dangerous heart side effects may occur. Talk to your health care provider.

Tell your prescriber or health care professional if your symptoms do not improve in a few days. If you are taking mefloquine for a long time, visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks. If you notice any changes in your vision see your ophthalmologist for an eye exam.

You may get drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how mefloquine affects you.

While in areas where malaria is common, certain steps can be taken to prevent being bit by mosquitos. They include:

1) Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms to reduce human-mosquito contact.

2) Sleep under mosquito netting, preferably one with pyrethrum-containing insecticide.

3) Wear long-sleeved shirts or blouses and long trousers to protect arms and legs.

4) Apply mosquito repellents containing DEET to uncovered areas of skin.

5) Use a pyrethrum-containing flying insect spray to kill mosquitos.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open. It is important to keep mefloquine out of reach of children; overdose is very dangerous.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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