Lariam is a treatment used in malaria, and is an effective preventative measure against the disease. It is supplied as a tablet, which is taken once a week when used to prevent the illness. Application commences shortly prior to travel, continues throughout and usually until four weeks after return from the affected region.
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Malaria is caused by the plasmodium parasite. This is carried by mosquitoes, and is transferred to humans through bites. Once in the bloodstream, the disease spreads by infecting other cells. Symptoms can manifest at any time for up to three months after infection, or even longer in rare cases. These include fever, headache and flu-like signs in some cases, but an aggressive strain may cause organ failure, and even prove fatal, so it is important to take precautions.
It is estimated that as many as 1,500 British travellers have contracted the illness during recent years. The condition is also noted for its ability to adapt to and resist certain forms of medication and vaccines. For this reason, it is essential to research the area you are travelling to well in advance, and find out which strains may be present. This will affect the type and course of treatment you use.
Lariam is a branded medication manufactured by Roche. It contains a functioning component called mefloquine hydrochloride, which targets the parasite and stops it from reproducing. This product is adept at tackling the parasites present in regions where the disease has developed an immunity to other antimalarials, such as chloroquine. It can also be used to treat active instances of the condition, but this will need to be done under the supervision of a doctor.
There are several different strains of malaria, so before you travel, you will need to check which antimalarial medication you should take, to ensure that the treatment you have is suitable for the area you are visiting. Your GP or local travel clinic will be able to provide further advice.
Please note that this treatment is not available to buy through our site.
Follow the directions issued by your prescriber when using this drug, and read the instructions provided in the leaflet. These will help you to reduce the likelihood of possible side effects.
- Take as prescribed.
- For the prevention of malaria, this may be one tablet, taken weekly, on the same day each week.
- Schedule your administration so that your first dose is taken 10 days before travel.
- Your second dose will be taken three days before you leave.
- Continue your administration weekly throughout your stay and for four weeks after your return.
- The course should last for at least six weeks.
- For the treatment of active malaria, your doctor will advise you how to take it.
- Do not exceed the amount prescribed.
- In the event that you forget to take your scheduled dose, do not compensate by doubling up on your next one. Simply take your pill as soon as you remember, and carry on with the course as normal.
The above directions are supplied only as a guide. Detailed instructions can be located in the patient information leaflet.
Download Lariam patient information leaflet
Knowledge of the potential side effects your medicine may cause is essential prior to use. Some of these, such as the following, may necessitate stopping treatment and urgently speaking to your doctor: suicidal thoughts or self-endangering behaviour; allergic reaction; severe changes in texture and appearance of the skin, mouth and eyes; psychosis; anxiety; depression; panic attacks; fits; pneumonitis; severe liver problems; pins and needles or coordination issues; or blood disorders.
You should also let your doctor know if you develop: feelings of mistrust towards others; hallucinations; mood swings; or heart problems.
Very common (1 in 10 patients or more):
Common (1 in 10 patients or less):
Dizziness, headache, sight problems, loss of balance, feeling sick or being sick, diarrhoea, stomach ache, or itching.
This is not a complete account of the side effects this product may cause. A more detailed list is contained in the patient information leaflet.
Taking it with other medicines
If you are using any other treatments, you should let your prescriber know. These may affect your ability to use this product safely. Lariam may interact with the following: halofantrine; quinine, quinidine, or chloroquine; treatments for high blood pressure; antihistamines; ketoconazole; antidepressants; epilepsy drugs such as sodium valproate, carbamazepine, phenobarbital or phenytoin; efavirenz; antibiotics; or tramadol.
Conditions to look out for
Do not use Lariam if you have a history of the following: depression; any other mental illness; fits; severe liver problems; or blackwater fever. It may also not be suitable for you if you have or have ever had: epilepsy; heart problems; liver or kidney dysfunction; eye problems; an abnormal blood test; issues with sensations in your hands and feet; or pneumonitis.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
This medication may not be suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Travel to an area with malaria risk is not recommended if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant. If any of the above applies to you, you should talk to your GP for advice before taking this treatment or making travel arrangements.
Driving and using machinery
Dizziness and vertigo are potential side effects of this treatment. If you are affected by these or any similar side effects, do not drive or use machines, and speak to your GP.
Can I still drink alcohol?
It is not thought to interact with alcohol.
Will I still be able to drive?
Yes, but only with special care. In some cases, Lariam may cause side effects which could make driving dangerous. If you experience these, do not drive and contact your nearest doctor for help.
Can I take the medicine while pregnant?
It is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Speak to your doctor in these cases for advice.
How should I store it?
Keep in a safe place, below 30°C and away from sources of moisture.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
Lariam contains: mefloquine, poloxamer, microcrystalline cellulose, lactose, maize starch, crospovidone, ammonium calcium alginate, talc, and magnesium stearate. Do not take it if you are allergic to any of these ingredients.
Is it available over-the-counter?
No. This is a prescription-only product.
Is it right for me?
The antimalarial treatment you use will depend on the area you are travelling to, as well as your medical profile. Your GP and local travel clinic can provide specific advice on which medication is the most appropriate for the region you are visiting.
Please note that Lariam is not available to buy through our site.
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