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mefloquine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking mefloquine (Lariam)?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to mefloquine or similar medications such as quinine (Qualaquin) or quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex, Quin-Release).

You also should not use mefloquine to prevent malaria if you have a recent history of:

  • seizures;
  • depression;
  • anxiety; or
  • schizophrenia or other psychiatric illness.

However, your doctor may prescribe mefloquine to treat malaria even if you do have any of the conditions listed above.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:

  • liver disease;
  • a history of depression;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • kidney disease;
  • severe complications from malaria; or
  • uncontrolled vomiting or diarrhea.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether mefloquine is harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Malaria is more likely to cause death in a pregnant woman. If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor about the risks of traveling to areas where malaria is common.

Mefloquine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Mefloquine should not be used to treat malaria in a child younger than 6 months old or who weighs less than 11 pounds. Mefloquine should not be used to prevent malaria in a child who weighs less than 99 pounds.

How should I take mefloquine (Lariam)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

It is important to use this medication regularly to best prevent malaria. If you stop using the medication early for any reason, talk to your doctor about other forms of malaria prevention.

If you have trouble swallowing the mefloquine tablet, you may crush the tablet and mix it into a small glass of milk, water, or other beverage to make swallowing easier.

If you vomit within 1 hour after taking this medication, take another half dose. If your vomiting continues, call your doctor.

If you are taking this medicine to prevent malaria:

  • Start taking the medicine 1 week before entering an area where malaria is common. Continue taking the medicine once weekly during your stay and for at least 4 weeks after you leave the area.
  • Take your weekly dose on the same day each week.
  • If you stop taking the medicine early for any reason, contact a healthcare professional about another form of malaria prevention.

If you are taking mefloquine to treat malaria:

  • Take five (5) tablets at one time, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  • Do not take mefloquine on an empty stomach.
  • Take the medicine with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.

In addition to taking mefloquine, use protective clothing, insect repellents, and mosquito netting around your bed to further prevent mosquito bites that could cause malaria.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your liver function may need to be tested with blood tests on a regular basis. You may also need regular eye exams. Do not miss any visits to your doctor.

Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you have been exposed to malaria, or if you have fever or other symptoms of illness during or after a stay in an area where malaria is common.

No medication is 100% effective in treating or preventing malaria. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if you have fever, vomiting, or diarrhea during your treatment.

Store mefloquine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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