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Q: What is Melfloquine/Lariam?

A: Lariam prevents the lethal strain of malaria known as falciparum. The drug was developed in the early sixties and prescribed to servicemen stationed in locations with widespread Malaria. Hoffman LaRoche, then developed the drug for the public during the mid-1980s.

Many people take Lariam without serious problems. However, there is no way to know which user will suffer its potentially dangerous side effects which can last for as long as several years after the medication is discontinued.

Lariam's more common side effects include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of balance dizziness, vertigo, sleep disorders, ringing in the ears, headache, muscle cramps, abnormal dreams, emotional instability, insomnia, panic attacks, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, paranoid reactions, convulsions, visual impairment, numbness, rashes, and itching. The use of Lariam with quinine or quinidine may result in cardiac arrest. There have been approximately a dozen reported suicides and hundreds of cases of depression among Lariam users. Furthermore, it is believed there may be links between an outbreak of domestic killings at Fort Bragg North Carolina linked to Lariam

Q: What is Malaria?

A: Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of Anopheles mosquitoes and is one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases in the world. Approximately 500 million clinical cases occur every year with approximately 2.7 million deaths. The disease, today, occurs mostly in tropical and subtropical countries, and is most prevalent in Africa and Southeast Asia. Malarial symptoms can occur after 8 days following an infected bite. The common symptoms are fever, malaise, headache, chills, sweats and respiratory or gastrointestinal illness.

Q: What about the Military Killings Linked to Lariam?

A: Between June 11, 2002 and July 23, 2002, four Army soldiers stationed at the Fort Bragg Army base in Fayetteville, N.C. allegedly killed their wives. Subsequently, two of the men killed themselves. Three of the men suspected in the Fort Bragg killings were special operations soldiers who had returned from Afghanistan. The Army would not say whether the men took Lariam, but it is generally known that Lariam is the preferred anti-malarial drug and the United Press International has reported that all three had been given Lariam. Although no direct evidence linking Lariam to the murders has yet to surface, it is believed that the potential causes of the killing have includes Lariam. Further, the Pentagon is considering sending a medical team to determine whether any such links exist.

Similarly, The Canadian government also looked at Lariam when it investigated the 1993 beating death of a Somali teenager at the hands of Canadian troops. Many soldiers were given Lariam while on duty in Somalia. The commission, which was shut down prematurely by the federal government, was unable to sort out the difficult and complex science of Mefloquine and the brain's chemistry. Roche U.S.A. had, indeed, conceded that Lariam can cause severe neuropsychiatric disorders, including manic behavior, acute psychosis with delusions, and aggressive mood swings.

Q: Are there Lawsuits against the maker of Lariam?

A: Currently, there are numerous pending lawsuits as against the manufacturers of Mefloquine. Several actions have been settled but the terms of such settlements have not been disclosed due to confidentiality agreements. At this time, there are no class action lawsuits pending in the United States but several have been filed overseas.

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