Common Name: mefloquine
How does Lariam work?Mefloquine is used for the treatment and prevention of malaria infections caused by certain types of parasites. Malaria is an infection caused by a group of parasites called Plasmodia that enter the blood through bites from infected mosquitoes. The parasites first enter and destroy red blood cells, then they reproduce within the liver and are released into the blood. Mefloquine does not prevent the mosquitoes from biting, nor does it prevent the parasite from reproducing in the liver. Mefloquine works by destroying the parasite after it is released from the liver into the blood. Your doctor may choose to use a medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. If you're unsure why you are taking this medication, contact your doctor.
How should I use Lariam?The recommended preventative dose of mefloquine is 250 mg once a week; it should be taken on the same day of the week for the following time period: one week before arrival in a malaria area (to allow blood levels of the medication to be effective) throughout your stay in this area four weeks after leaving the area (in case you have been infected and the parasite is reproducing in the liver) For people who weigh less than less than 45 kg (99 lbs), your doctor will adjust the dose of mefloquine according to your body weight. The dose of mefloquine for treatment of malaria is based on body weight (20 mg/kg to 25 mg/kg for those with no immunity and 15 mg/kg for those with partial immunity). The total dose is taken all at once or in two to three doses spaced six or eight hours apart to reduce the occurrence or severity of side effects. If a person vomits less than 30 minutes after receiving the medication, a full additional dose should be taken as instructed by your doctor. If vomiting occurs 30 to 60 minutes after the dose, an additional one-half dose should be taken as instructed by your doctor. Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones given here, do not change the way that you take the medication without consulting your doctor. Mefloquine should be taken with food (e.g., any meal) and with plenty of water (at least 240 mL = 1 cup = 8 ounces). Do not chew the tablets, but you may crush and mix them with a small amount of water, milk, or other beverage. It is very important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor. Do not double doses. For missed doses intended for prevention of malaria, take the dose as soon as you remember it and take each remaining dose according to the weekly dosing schedule, counting from the day you took the missed dose. Do not take more than one dose in a week. Take this medication exactly as instructed by your doctor and store it at room temperature. Immediately contact a doctor if you suspect you have contracted malaria. Your doctor may recommend a self-treatment plan if you cannot get to a doctor within 12 to 24 hours.
What form(s) does Lariam come in?Each bevelled-edged, white, cylindrical tablet, marked "ROCHE" with a hexagon on one side, contains 250 mg mefloquine. Nonmedicinal ingredients include ammonium-calcium alginate, cornstarch, crospovidone, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, poloxamer, and talc. The tablets do not contain yeast or gluten.
What should I NOT take with Lariam?Mefloquine should not be taken by anyone who: is less than 3 months old or weighs less than 5 kg has a known sensitivity or allergy to mefloquine or related medications (e.g., quinine, quinidine, chloroquine) or to any of the ingredients of the medication has a history of psychiatric disturbances (including depression) has a history of seizures
Are there any other precautions or warnings for Lariam?Heart conditions: Mefloquine should be taken with caution by people with heart rhythm problems, as it may worsen these conditions. Occupational hazards: Dizziness, a disturbed sense of balance, and other problems with the nervous system have been reported during and up to three weeks after the use of mefloquine. Use caution when performing tasks requiring mental alertness and coordination (such as driving or operating machinery). Liver disease: People with liver disease may experience higher blood levels of this medication. If you have liver disease, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of using this medication. Pregnancy: If possible, it is best if pregnant women avoid travelling to areas where they risk malaria exposure. The use of this medication during pregnancy requires that the potential hazards be weighed against the benefits. Women of childbearing age should practise reliable birth control during treatment with mefloquine and for three months after the last dose has been taken. Breast-feeding: Small amounts of mefloquine pass into breast milk. Nursing women should use caution if taking mefloquine.