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MPs may hold inquiry into safety of using antimalarial mefloquine in military

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4868 (Published 11 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4868
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Pressure is building to end the practice of routinely giving the antimalarial drug mefloquine (Lariam) to UK military personnel and to investigate the drug’s safety.

MPs on the parliamentary defence select committee sent a letter on 8 September to the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, asking whether he had plans to reassess the drug’s safety in the light of recent concerns raised by the military.1

Mefloquine is licensed in the United Kingdom by the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency, on the basis of expert guidance from Public Health England’s advisory committee for malaria prevention.

The drug is one type of antimalarial given to military personnel serving overseas. However, the possible side effects of the drug listed by the MHRA include “depression and suicidal ideation, anxiety, panic, confusion, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and …

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