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Mefloquine (Lariam®)

Mefloquine (brand name: Lariam®) is a drug that has been given to military personnel, including those serving in Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, for protection against malaria. Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes.

Mefloquine, a round, white tablet taken once a week, is also used for travelers visiting areas where malaria is found, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mefloquine was approved by the FDA in May 1989.

If you are concerned about mefloquine use or long-term side effects from taking mefloquine, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

Mefloquine side effects

Hand holding a foil blister pack with small white pills

Most people who take mefloquine do not experience side effects. For those who do, the most common reported side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, and bad dreams. These symptoms are usually mild and do not cause people to stop taking the medicine. People with liver problems, or those who drink alcohol or take medicines that affect the liver, may take longer to eliminate mefloquine from the body.

Occasionally, mefloquine may cause more serious side effects. Examples include psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, depression, mood changes, hallucinations, agitation, and unusual behavior. Other uncommon side effects may include muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, and lung problems such as pneumonitis (inflammation of lung tissue). Rare cases of suicidal thoughts have been reported.

If you are thinking about suicide, seek appropriate care immediately. Contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or through online chat.


Health concerns?

If you are concerned about mefloquine use or long-term side effects from taking mefloquine, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

VA offers a variety of health care benefits to eligible Veterans. Not enrolled in the VA health care system? Find out if you qualify for VA health care.

Compensation benefits for health problems

Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to mefloquine use during military service. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis. File a claim online.

Learn more about VA benefits.


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