November 1, 2014
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Drug Factsheets

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Lariam

(mefloquine)

DIN (Drug Identification Number)

02018055 LARIAM 250MG TABLET

How does Lariam work? What will it do for me?

Mefloquine belongs to the class of medications called antimalarials. Mefloquine is used to treat and prevent malaria infections caused by certain types of parasites.

Malaria is an infection caused by a group of parasites called Plasmodia that enter the blood through bites from infected mosquitoes. The parasites first enter and destroy red blood cells, then they reproduce within the liver and are released into the blood. Mefloquine does not prevent the mosquitoes from biting or prevent the parasite from reproducing in the liver. Mefloquine works by destroying the parasite after it is released from the liver into the blood.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use Lariam?

The recommended preventative dose of mefloquine is 250 mg once a week. This medication should be taken on the same day of the week for the following time period:

  • one week before arrival in a malaria area (to allow blood levels of the medication to be effective)
  • throughout your stay in this area
  • 4 weeks after leaving the area (in case you have been infected and the parasite is reproducing in the liver)

For people who weigh less than 45 kg (99 lbs), your doctor will adjust the dose of mefloquine according to your body weight.

The dose of mefloquine for treatment of malaria is based on body weight (20 mg/kg to 25 mg/kg for those with no immunity, and 15 mg/kg for those with partial immunity). The total dose is taken all at once or in 2 to 3 doses spaced 6 or 8 hours apart to reduce the occurrence or severity of side effects. If a person vomits less than 30 minutes after receiving the medication, a full additional dose should be taken as instructed by your doctor. If vomiting occurs 30 to 60 minutes after the dose, an additional one-half dose should be taken as instructed by your doctor.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

Mefloquine should be taken with food (e.g., any meal) and with plenty of water (at least 240 mL, equivalent of 1 cup [8 ounces]). Do not chew the tablets, but you may crush and mix them with a small amount of water, milk, or other beverage.

It is very important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take a double dose. For missed doses intended for prevention of malaria, take the dose as soon as you remember and take each remaining dose according to the weekly dosing schedule, counting from the day you took the missed dose. Do not take more than one dose in a week.

Immediately contact a doctor if you suspect that you have contracted malaria. Your doctor may recommend a self-treatment plan if you cannot get to a doctor within 12 to 24 hours.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.





What form(s) does Lariam come in?

Each bevelled-edged, white, cylindrical tablet, marked "ROCHE" with a hexagon on one side, contains 250 mg mefloquine (base), present as mefloquine hydrochloride. Nonmedicinal ingredients: ammonium-calcium alginate, cornstarch, crospovidone, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, poloxamer, and talc.

Who should NOT take Lariam?

Mefloquine should not be taken to prevent malaria by anyone who:

  • is allergic to mefloquine or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • is allergic to related medications (e.g., quinine, quinidine, chloroquine)
  • is taking any of the following medications:
    • quinine
    • quinidine
    • chloroquine
    • ketoconazole
    • halofantrine
  • has a history of psychiatric disturbances (including depression, generalized anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, or other major psychiatric disorders)
  • has a history of seizures

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