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article imageAntimalarial drug warning due to side-effects

By Tim Sandle     Jul 31, 2013 in Health
The U.S. FDA has issued a warning to patients and healthcare professionals about an antimalarial drug due to serious psychiatric and nerve side effects.
The medication is called mefloquine hydrochloride and the warning has come from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the New York Times FDA is advising the public about neurologic and psychiatric side effects associated with the antimalarial drug mefloquine hydrochloride. Mefloquine hydrochloride is indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate acute malaria.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease transmitted by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. The disease is caused by a parasite; on being passed into the blood stream the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death.
Mefloquine was developed by the United States Army, and it entered the commercial market in 1989. The medicine was previously marketed under the brand name Lariam; however, the Lariam product is not currently marketed. Generic mefloquine products are available across the U.S.
The drug is typically taken for one to two weeks before entering an area with malaria. The exact mechanism of action is uncertain. However, it is proposed to share a similar mechanism of action with chloroquine.
According to an FDA MedWatch report a boxed warning, which is the most serious kind of warning about these potential problems, has been added to the drug label. Furthermore, the FDA has revised the patient Medication Guide dispensed with each prescription and wallet card to include this information and the possibility that the neurologic side effects may persist or become permanent.
The neurologic side effects can include dizziness, loss of balance, or ringing in the ears. Moreover, the neurologic side effects can occur at any time during drug use, and can last for months to years after the drug is stopped or can be permanent. The psychiatric side effects can include feeling anxious, mistrustful, depressed, or having hallucinations.
More about Malaria, Malaria drug, antimalaria, Mosquito
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