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News1990April › Malaria drug: join the queue › April 1990

Malaria drug: join the queue

Lariam, the world's most powerful antimalarial, is a firm favourite with all of us here at WDDTY

Lariam, the world's most powerful antimalarial, is a firm favourite with all of us here at WDDTY.

It's always in the news, and never for the right reasons. The latest to fall victim are six American soldiers who have been diagnosed with permanent brain damage after taking the drug while on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The American drugs watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration, last year warned that Lariam (mefloquine) is linked to suicide, while psychiatric and neurological side effects have been reported to last long after it has been taken.

The Pentagon has announced a new safety study of the drug. It shouldn't have to look too hard. A six-year-old girl died in an English hospital after taking the drug while on holiday in Nigeria, while 300 Britons launched a class-action suit after they suffered severe and long-term effects, such as hallucinations, anxiety attacks, seizures and sever mood swings.

British Airways has issued a warning to all staff about taking the drug, while doctors have reported that many patients have refused prescriptions for it.

So if all these people know this about the drug, why is the US military still dishing it out to its soldiers?


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