Lariam

Malaria can begin rapidly therefore early protection with anti-malaria tablets is highly recommended. You should also contact your regular nurse in case you may require vaccines prior to your travels. Dr Felix supplies Lariam (Mefloquine) and all other UK licensed malaria tablets. Generic cheaper malaria tablets compared to the branded Malarone tablets work exactly the same, not one anti-malaria tablets are more effective than the other.

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Strength Quantity Price
250mg8 tablets26.99
250mg9 tablets28.99
250mg10 tablets30.99
250mg11 tablets32.99
250mg12 tablets34.99
250mg13 tablets37.99
250mg15 tablets42.99
250mg19 tablets51.99
250mg26 tablets71.00
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About

What is Lariam?

Lariam (generic name Mefloquine) is a type of antimalarial used in the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria.

How does Lariam work?

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease of the plasmodium family. These plasmodiums are transferred to the blood via mosquito bites, where they make their way to the liver and reproduce before being released back into the blood. If left undiagnosed or untreated, malaria can be fatal.

Lariam contains the active ingredient mefloquine, which works by attacking the parasites after they have passed through the liver into the blood.  

How effective is Lariam?

Lariam is only effective in parts of the world where plasmodium falciparum is not present. It is vital that you speak with a doctor about which type of antimalarial medication is suitable for your trip. Furthermore, no antimalarial medication is 100% effective, so it is important to take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes while travelling within a malaria zone.

Does Lariam protect against malaria?

Lariam can provide protection against malaria in areas of the world where plasmodium falciparum (the most prevalent and dangerous strain of malaria) is not present, such as South America and much of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It is often taken in combination with Proguanil to provide a higher level of protection.

Ingredients

Active ingredients

The active ingredient in Lariam is mefloquine.

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in Lariam are poloxamer, microcrystalline cellulose, lactose monohydrate, maize starch, crospovidone, ammonium calcium alginate, talc, and magnesium stearate.

Please Note: Different brands of Mefloquine (generic Lariam) can contain different inactive ingredients.

Dosage

How to take Lariam

Always take Lariam as instructed by a doctor. You should take your first dose of Lariam 10 days in advance of your arrival in a malaria zone, and you second dose 3 days in advance. After this, take one tablet a week, always on the same day, for the duration of your trip and for an additional 4 weeks following your return. You should take Lariam for at least 6 weeks, depending on the duration of your trip. Make sure to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites during you travels, as no antimalarial is 100% effective.

Lariam dosage

Lariam is not recommended for use in children under 3 months of age. For children aged 3 months - 5 years, the dosage is ¼ tablet taken once a week. Children aged 6 - 8 should take ½ tablet once a week, and ¾ tablet for ages 9 - 14. The recommended dose for adults is 1 tablet taken once a week.

Is Lariam dosage different for adults and children?

Unlike some other antimalarials, Lariam is suitable for use in children over the age of 3 months. Children will need to take a lower dose than adults, and you should speak to your doctor for advice before beginning the course of treatment.

Side Effects

Lariam side effects

Like all medications, Lariam can cause side effects in some people. If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking this medication and consult a doctor immediately:

  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction, including difficulty breathing, swollen tongue, itching and severe rash
  • Severe skin changes, including blistering and peeling, particularly around the mouth, eyes and genitals
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Inflammation of the lungs
  • Severe changes in heartbeat including pounding, racing or palpitations
  • Severe liver problems, characterised by yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), dark urine, light coloured stools and general itchiness.
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self-endangering behaviour
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Unusual behaviour
  • Feeling of confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression or agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Unusual mood swings
  • Disturbance of attention

Less serious side effects may affect up to 1 in 10 people and include:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Problems with vision
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching

The following side effects have also been reported, although their frequency cannot be estimated:

  • Abnormal blood tests demonstrating an increase or decrease in white blood cells, a decrease in red blood cells or platelets. Symptoms may include mouth or throat ulcers, fever, chills, unexplained bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding in the stomach or vaginal bleeding.
  • Kidney problems, including failure, impairment, infection, cessation or blood in the urine. Symptoms may include dehydration, fatigue, swelling, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, headache.
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Neuropathy with signs of pins and needles, weakness, new or worsening clumsiness, unsteadiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty talking
  • Difficulties with sense of smell and taste, eye movement, facial sensation and expression, hearing, balance, taste, tongue movement, head-turning and shoulder raising.
  • Difficulties with vision
  • Difficulties with hearing
  • Symptoms of pancreatic problems, including stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, changes in blood pressure or heart rate and breathlessness.
  • Indigestion
  • Rash
  • Hair loss
  • Sweating
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Oedema
  • Tiredness
  • Fever or chills

If you experience any of the above side effects, consult your doctor for advice.  

Contraindications

Do NOT take Lariam if you have or have ever had:

  • An allergy to any of the ingredients in this medication, or to similar medications such as quinine or quinidine
  • Depression, thoughts about suicide or self-endangering behaviour
  • Any mental problems, including anxiety disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Severe liver problems
  • Blackwater fever

Before taking Lariam, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any of the following:

  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Heart problems
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Eye problems
  • Blood or lymphatic disorder
  • Neuropathy
  • Pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs)
  • A history of malaria contraction despite taking Lariam as a preventative
  • Low blood glucose due to congenital hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia  

Drug interactions

Before taking Lariam, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications, including those bought over the counter without a prescription. In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking:

  • Halofantrine
  • Quinine, quinidine or chloroquine
  • Medicines for heart problems, including beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, bupropion or antipsychotics
  • Epilepsy medications including sodium valproate, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Antibiotics such as rifampicin, penicillins and cephalosporins
  • Efavirenz
  • Tramadol
  • Medicines for diabetes or blood-clotting disorders  

How to cope with Lariam side effects

The most common side effect of Lariam is sleeping problems (affects around 1 in 10 people), including sleepiness, insomnia or bad dreams. Speak to your doctor for advice if these symptoms persist. It may be that a different type of antimalaria is better suited to you.

Lariam side effects to watch out for

Lariam has been known to cause mental problems in a small amount of people. If you experience feelings of depression or anxiety while taking Lariam, stop taking it immediately and consult your doctor.

Lariam and pregnancy

It is not normally recommended to take this medication while pregnant, and pregnant women are usually advised against travelling to malaria zones. Speak to your doctor before taking Lariam if you are pregnant. Lariam should not be taken while breastfeeding.

Lariam and alcohol

You can drink alcohol whilst taking Lariam, although you are advised to take caution and drink only in moderation. In combination with Lariam, alcohol can cause dizziness or drowsiness.

Treatment Options

Alternatives to Lariam

There are several different types of antimalarial available in the UK. The type of malarial you need is often dependent on your destination and the type of malaria known to be prevalent there. Click here to find out which type of antimalarial you need for your travels.

The benefits of Lariam and Chloroquine are that they are only taken once a week and are suitable in pregnant women of all trimesters. However, since they both need to be started well in advance of traveling and for 4 weeks after, they are best suited to prolonged trips.

Malarone is a popular option as it is suitable for most areas where malaria is known to be prevalent and protects against plasmodium falciparum. It is a more expensive option, but tends to present less side effects and, since it only needs to be started 2 days prior to travelling, is suitable for short trips abroad.

Doxycycline is a cheaper alternative, although it has more known side effects such as sensitivity to sunlight, which can be problematic for some travellers. It is an antibiotic that acts as a malaria preventative in some parts of the world.

Other ways to avoid malaria

While antimalarials provide a good level of protection against malaria, it is vital to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in the first place. Make sure to wear insect repellent (preferably containing 50% DEET or higher), particularly in the evenings and at night. You can buy mosquito repellent sprays, humidifiers and coils for your accommodation, as well as nets impregnated with repellant to hang over your bed at night. Where possible, avoid staying in accomodation that is close to stagnant water sources, such as lakes or ponds, and keep your skin covered up in the evenings. For more tips on mosquito avoidance, click here.

For which countries is Lariam suitable?

Because Lariam does not protect against plasmodium falciparum, it is not often used to prevent malaria on its own. It can be used to provide a measure of protection in South America, sub-Saharan Africa and much of Asia. 

Q&A

Is Lariam available on the NHS?

Antimalarial medication is only available on the NHS in exceptional circumstances. Lariam cannot be accessed through the NHS for travel purposes, and instead should be purchased from a doctor on a private prescription.

Should I buy Lariam before I travel?

You will need to start taking Lariam 10 days before your arrival in a malaria zone, so it is important to buy it well in advance of your trip.

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