VA warns doctors on malaria drug effects

WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs is warning doctors to watch for long-term problems from Lariam, a malaria drug used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lariam is the brand name for mefloquine which has been given to tens of thousands of soldiers since the war on terrorism began. Some of those soldiers say it has provoked severe mental and physical problems including suicidal and violent behavior, psychosis, convulsions and balance disorders.


The VA warned its own doctors Wednesday that the drug "may rarely be associated with certain long-term chronic health problems that persist for weeks, months, and even years after the drug is stopped," according to a summary of published studies by a VA panel of experts. The summary accompanies an "information letter" from the VA's acting undersecretary for health, Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, to healthcare professionals who treat veterans.

Veterans' advocates praised the VA but said the Pentagon seems to have lost track of who has taken the drug -- making the size of a potentially serious problem unclear.

Latest Headlines