Lariam USA to Brief US Senate Staff Members on Side Effects of Lariam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Jeanne Lese
July 1, 2004

San Rafael, CA – Lariam Action USA, a support and information service for people suffering adverse effects from the anti-malarial drug Lariam (mefloquine), will conduct a briefing for US Senate staff members in the Capitol Building, Washington, DC, on July 9, 2004. Lariam, approved by FDA in 1989, is commonly prescribed for vacationers and travelers to malaria-endemic countries. It is also used by the US Military, State Department, and the Peace Corps.

Susan Rose and Jeanne Lese, Co-Directors of Lariam Action USA, will present Senate staffers with the latest scientific evidence showing Lariam’s excessively high rate of side effects compared to other anti-malaria drugs. They will discuss the recent diagnosis at Balboa Naval Hospital of 10 GIs with permanent vestibular brain damage caused by Lariam. They will also review the June 29 advisory to doctors from the Veterans Administration confirming that Lariam causes a wide range of significant adverse effects that can persist for months and even years after the drug has been stopped.

The highlight of the Senate briefing will be a clip from “Taken As Directed,” a new documentary about Lariam and its adverse effects. It features a former Peace Corps Volunteer who has suffered from Lariam-induced severe depression for three years and has attempted suicide five times. Suicide is recognized as a side effect on the official Lariam product information sheet, although the manufacturer claims no link to the drug has been established.

Several Lariam sufferers will relate their experiences with the drug to Senate staff:

  • Navy Reserve Cmdr. William Manofsky. Manofsky served in Kuwait prior to the Iraq war; he has been diagnosed with permanent brain damage from Lariam
  • Staff Sgt. Georg-Andreas Pogany, Special Forces. Pogany served in Iraq, was charged with cowardice by the Army for reporting a toxic Lariam reaction, and was subsequently diagnosed with brain damage from Lariam
  • James Prietsch, retired Supervisory Agent, Diplomatic Security Service, State Department. Prietsch was diagnosed with permanent brain damage from Lariam

Steve Robinson, Director, National Gulf War Resource Center will offer comments on mental health injuries among service personnel.

Lariam Action USA

Lariam Action USA was formed in 1997. Lariam Action USA is the founding member of the Coalition for Anti-Malarial Drug Safety. The coalition includes individuals and groups in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, and Switzerland. Lariam Action USA’s web site is www.lariaminfo.org.

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Please contact Lariam Action USA at:

Lariam Action USA
64 El Pavo Real Circle
San Rafael, CA 94903-3521

info@lariaminfo.org