Irwin Mitchell | Focus on Military | Concerns for Service Personnel Over Lariam Side Effects

Concerns for Service Personnel Over Lariam Side Effects

The anti-malarial drug mefloquine, also known as Lariam, has been in the headlines recently as it continues to be prescribed by the MoD to British troops stationed in regions of the world where malaria is a concern, such as Kenya and Sierra Leone. There have been calls to ban its use within the military with immediate effect.

Since 2007 it has been known that the drug, which is manufactured by Roche, can lead to adverse psychiatric side effects and severe mental illness.

The MoD recently confirmed mefloquine, or Lariam, is still the firstchoice anti-malaria drug prescribed to service personnel, despite other drugs being available which do not induce mental health-related side effects in individuals.

Our expert Military Injury Claims team has been contacted by a number of former service personnel who were prescribed Lariam and who describe a range of mental health issues, including depression, severe anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations and panic attacks.

We are currently investigating the post-prescription effects of the drug and would like to hear from service personnel who have suffered similar side effects.

Kevin Timms, a specialist group actions solicitor who is leading the investigation into the use of Lariam in the Armed Forces, said: “Serious concerns about the use of Lariam have been well known for a number of years, particularly its use by the MoD as the first-choice anti-malaria drug for large numbers of British troops. These concerns have still not been fully addressed and it is vital this is rectified immediately”.

“We are concerned that, at least since 2007, it has been public knowledge of the potential for severe psychiatric injuries for some of those using Lariam, but service personnel about to be deployed continue to be prescribed the drug, despite the military environment being more likely to trigger Lariam adverse events.”

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Kevin Timms

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