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Precautions and Warnings With Mefloquine

Let your healthcare provider know if you have any medical issues, such as problems with your heart or liver, before taking mefloquine. Precautions and warnings with this drug also apply to people who have certain allergies and women who are pregnant or nursing. Also, some people should avoid this prescription medication, including those who are taking certain medications or who have a seizure disorder.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Mefloquine?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking mefloquine hydrochloride (Lariam®) if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Mefloquine Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this medication include the following:
  • Mefloquine may increase the risk for seizures. If you have ever had a seizure (for any reason), you should tell your healthcare provider before taking this medication. Because of the potential risk for seizures, mefloquine should only be used in people with a seizure disorder if there are no other treatment options.
  • Mefloquine may cause neurological problems, such as dizziness, a spinning sensation (vertigo), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), loss of balance, or emotional or mental problems. These side effects can become permanent. Let your healthcare provider know right away if you develop these side effects, as you should be switched to a different drug right away. 
  • Mefloquine may cause serious emotional or mental health problems, even in people who do not have a history of such problems. In some people, these problems continued even after mefloquine was stopped. Potential emotional problems from mefloquine use include:
    • Feeling anxious
    • Feeling paranoid, or mistrustful of others
    • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)
    • Depression
    • Feeling restless, nervous, or agitated
    • Confusion
    • Thoughts of suicide.
If you experience any of these reactions while taking mefloquine, contact your healthcare provider immediately. These side effects may become permanent. You may need to stop mefloquine and start another antimalarial medication.
  • Some people may need long-term mefloquine treatment. If you use mefloquine for a long period of time, your healthcare provider will likely monitor your liver function. You will also need to have eye examinations, because medications like mefloquine may cause eye problems when taken for extended periods.
  • Mefloquine may cause serious heart rhythm problems. People who already have heart problems or who are taking other medications that can cause arrhythmias may be at an increased risk for this complication.
  • If you develop fever or flu-like symptoms after returning from a malaria area, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Tell him or her that you may have been exposed to malaria.
  • Mefloquine may interact with a number of other medications (see Drug Interactions With Mefloquine for more information).
  • Mefloquine is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are unknown (see Lariam and Pregnancy).
  • Mefloquine passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Lariam and Breastfeeding).

Mefloquine Drug Information

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