We are NOT medical doctors and we cannot give medical advice.
But we can SHARE what we have learned about Lariam since 1997, researching worldwide medical literature and corresponding with thousands of Lariam sufferers. Lariam toxicity affects different people in different ways. There is no “cure” or any tip that will help everyone. We hope you will find something here to help you. Nothing we say is intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional.
Realizing that Lariam toxicity is the reason for their illness is the turning point for many sufferers. They are relieved to know their illness is not “their fault,” caused by an “underlying condition,” or worse yet all in their heads. They also are relieved to know that others suffer the same problem. Knowledge frees them to move on to the next step: healing.
Most people completely recover from Lariam adverse reactions (ADRs) within six to eight months. Some even find their side effect symptoms subside in a few weeks. However, some people suffer for one to two years; and, unfortunately, others (a small number) suffer permanent injuries. Lariam has a long “half life” so it takes a long time to leave the body. It takes even longer for the body to recover from being poisoned. The manufacturer states: “[A]dverse reactions to Lariam may occur or persist up to several weeks after the last dose” (Roche, Lariam US product information, Aug 1999). “Several weeks” could easily be many months, so try to be patient while your body heals.
Recovery from Lariam toxicity occurs in cycles, and the symptoms come in waves. In other words, you will start to feel better for a time and then, suddenly, feel as badly as you did at first. When the symptoms recur, get as much rest as you can and try not to be discouraged. The episodes will get further and further apart and become milder with time.
Recovery takes a long, slow time. Accept that you are recovering from poisoning. Get plenty of rest. Manage your energy and do not to overdo, or attempt to carry out your normal schedule while you are recovering.
Absolutely avoid alcohol! Lariam is metabolized in the liver and may damage it. Drink plenty of fluids and don’t get dehydrated. It may also help to avoid caffeine.
Stress relievers/alternative therapies, massage, yoga, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, herbs, and supplements have all helped different people at different stages. Take some positive action to get relief from whatever symptoms are bothering you the most.
Lariam sufferers are often reluctant to take more prescription drugs. However, drugs that treat the symptoms of toxicity can be very helpful. For example, if you are having panic attacks, you may get relief from an anti-anxiety prescription drug. The first one might not work, so be prepared to experiment with your doctor’s help to find which one is best for you. As a precaution, ask your doctor if you can start out on a very low dose to be sure you don’t react to the new prescription.
Lariam (“mefloquine”) is one of the drugs in the quinoline family. It is chemically related to quinine and to the quinolone family of drugs — a family that includes many potent antibiotics. Quinolone antibiotics include floxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquine, Tavanic), cirpofloxacin, (Cipro, Baycip, Cetraxal, Ciflox, Cifran, Ciplox), norfloxacin (Noroxin, Amicrobin, Anquin, Baccidal, Norofin, Norxacin, Oroflox), gemifloxacin, and many more. Go to http://www.geocities.com/quinolones/ for a complete list.
Lariam as well as the quinolones can cause both physical and neuropsychiatric adverse effects. The central nervous system adverse events reported with mefloquine are of the same types as those reported with other quinine analogues. Such reactions have been recognized for a long time. In therapeutic doses quinine alkaloids easily cross the blood/brain barrier and in high doses neurotoxicity develops rapidly. The most clinically useful antibacterial quinoline derivatives, the so-called quinolones, have also been found to cause severe neurotoxic and psychiatric adverse reactions on rare occasions (e.g., <0.5%)
Review of Central Nervous System Adverse Events Related to the Antimalaria Drug, Mefloquine (1985-1990), Malaria Control Unit, World Health Organization and F. Hoffmann-La Roche, 1991.
If you suffered adverse effects from Lariam (past or present), you could also be sensitized to the antibiotics in the quinolone family and more likely to experience their adverse effects. If your doctor suggests you take a quinolone antibiotic, be sure he or she knows about your reaction to Lariam. Do NOT wait to be asked. Tell your doctor and BE YOUR OWN HEALTH ADVOCATE.