Sep 13th, 2005, 09:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 148

Yes, it is still a matter of debate...yes, you need to get the advice of your doctor.

But apparently it IS true that the US military no longer prescribes larium because of the serious side effects--SOME OF WHICH PERSIST LONG AFTER STOPPING THIS DRUG.

Actually, I could never understand the argument that taking a drug once a week was an advantage anyway.
ddgattina is offline  
Sep 14th, 2005, 02:51 AM
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Not sure if you mean Lariam, but I'm happy with it. And sorry, I can better live with a weekly date than a daily. So apparently opinions can be quite different.

Sep 14th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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After taking Larium before, during, and after our trip to Kenya & Tanzania, my liver function numbers were quite abnormal, according to my doctor said upon an exam after our return. In a year, those numbers returned to where they were before our trip. Your use of this drug should depend entirely on what your personal physician tells you, not based on the experience of others who may post here.
USNR is offline  
Sep 14th, 2005, 05:01 AM
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I'm glad I have bought my Malarone!
Sarvowinner is offline  
Sep 14th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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Though it should be noted that some local personal physicians are not exactly up to speed on the latest trends in tropical medicine... when I asked my Dr about the possible side effects of larium for our safari she said she had no idea there were any...luckily I had brought a bunch of info I had gotten on the subject and was able to talk her into perscribing malarone..we had no side effects at all and I would take malarone again, no problem. Being an educated patient has advantages too!
Thyra is offline  
Sep 14th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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A very small percentage of Lariam users suffer serious side effects. I have no doubt that a lot of travel related and ďsoldier lifeĒ related disorders are blamed on Lariam. As it is the only anti-malarial thatís both effective and reasonably priced itís definitely worth the small risk Ė at least for me. Of course, if you have some specific health problems or take medicines that are dangerous to combine with Lariam you shouldnít take it Ė but thatís something your doctor should tell you.

On my first trip to Kenya my doctor advised me to take Malarone. It was only a two-week trip and she thought I shouldnít risk ruining my trip with ďnightmaresĒ. Iíve always had nightmares quite regularly but I didnít want to become psychotic. On my second trip I decided to try Lariam Ė not throwing away money unnecessarily makes it easier to return to Kenya - and I had no problems whatsoever. And this year I took Lariam again. One night I felt like hundreds of rats where entering through the net-covered window behind my head. I was almost asleep and there WAS a rat in the room (only one), so I donít think it had anything to do with taking Lariam. Maybe I get one side effect from Lariam and that is euphoria.

Iíve no idea when Iíll be able to return to Africa, but as I have some Lariam pills I feel like Iím on my way. I bought them for less than half the original price from someone on a travel forum who had 19 pills left over. He lived in Stockholm and I was going there anyway, so we arranged to make the transaction outside an underground station.

If the US military spends its money on Malarone instead of on making war thatís all very well, but if anyone tries to have Lariam banned Iíll scream, ďDONíT TOUCH MY PILLS!!!Ē
Nyamera is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 09:24 AM
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I was on the Kenya trip with Thyra and Justin and I took Malarone. My friend took Lariam and by the time we got home, I felt that she was in the early stage of Alzheimers! She wasn't nearly as difficult on our previous trip, when no malaria pills were necessary. She didn't have nightmares, but was forgetful and difficult. When I thought about it later, I realized it could have been the side-effects of Lariam. At any rate, my insurance covered the cost of my anti-malaria medicine so cost didn't matter. Maybe people don't realize their insurance will cover this stuff. (And maybe some insurance won't)
retiredatlast is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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Hi Retiredatlast,
Iíve diagnosed your friend: She was showing the side effects of having to leave Kenya. The symptoms are very easily recognised.

Nyamera is offline  
Sep 18th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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good one Nyamera--Kenya withdrawal syndrome.
bat is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 05:21 AM
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I have taken Larium before for a trip to the Amazon. For me, it was absolutely horrible! I had the worst dreams i have ever had...absolutely miserable to the point of almost being frightening. I am going on safari in august and don't care what cost or inconvenience another brand is...i refuse to take larium again to the point that i would probably just not go to a place that you need it if in fact i had to take the larium again....but thats just my experience.

larrydody is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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I just got back from 12 days in Kenya. I took Malarone & have had no side effects at all. Still taking it for 6 more days Would highly recommend it. It was expensive but worth it.
regg11 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2005, 04:16 AM
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Why don't people use Doxycycline? Just curious because that is what we always take.
Scout52 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2005, 04:37 AM
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Scout52 -

Not being a specialist in tropical meds, my guess would be that doxy is an antibiotic and not specific for malaria. Yes, it is often prescribed for those who cannot for any variety of reasons be on a Lariam or Malarone protocol.

Besides, doxy often causes sun sensitivity, so you've got to protect yourself with some SPF; women often find they have discharge problems.

... and, you've got to take doxy for 1-month after returning from the infected area.

We've heard from posters who feel the 1-a-week Lariam (regardless possible psychotic reactions, sleeplessness, and other strange happenings) is better then taking 1-a-day pill as Malarone (with minimal, if any, side-effects)... and then there is the doxy that you have to take forever (or so it seems).

Cost, of course, comes into play - doxy is the least expensive, in fact, cheap. However, when planning a vacation some people completely forget about anything other then air, hotel, food, tours and Visas and then they find out about inoculations and meds. Personally, in the scheme of things and the costs for a safari, regardless whether budget - moderate - expensive - the expense for your meds is most important.

So it's an individual decision made between you (your pocket) and your medical professional.
Sep 20th, 2005, 07:03 PM
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I met a couple of German women in the airport in Bangkok and we started chatting. They were friends on their way to Vietnam for vacation. One said that she had taken Larium on a trip somewhere the year before and is suffering permanent liver damage from it. I refuse to take Larium. I took Malarone while in Ghana for two weeks and didn't have any major problems. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 09:20 PM
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The US Army doctors we worked with (different ones for each trip) both basically said no Larium because of the potential side effects. We were given the choice between Malarone and Doxycycline, with a recommendation for doxy because "considering where you are going, having an antibiotic already in your system can't be a bad thing". We didn't notice any sun sensitivity problems, but we went to Africa from Nevada, Alice Springs, Australia, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Maybe the effects are a lot worse for people who don't already live in intensely sunny climates. Taking the meds for a month afterward is a hassle, but you just have to remember to do so. On the other hand, any acne you have tends to clear up nicely!
Scout52 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 11:18 PM
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Good to see you're following the advice of doctors, Scout 52, but your puzzlement about why more don't use doxy is unwarranted. It all depends on the individual and the medical advice they get...everybody can react differently to different drugs. I've a friend who always uses doxy and he doesn't have problems with could well be that sun-sensitivity doesn't come into play for people who live in sunny climes like us. But I've always used Lariam because it is among the most effective, and I don't have any problems with it. In fact, the minimum prescription course I can get is 8 tablets, so for a two-week safari (about the most I can afford), I'm taking pills two weeks before I leave and four weeks after I return, longer than necessary but that doesn't bother me and I'm not wasting any pills. I can understand why the US or any other military force for that matter would steer clear of Lariam (they have enough trouble keeping their people on an even keel anyway), but it works for me and most people who use it.
afrigalah is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 06:49 AM
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I've taken doxycycline before and did not have the wierd dreams like Lariam (aka mefloquine), but doxy seems to kill certain good flora and fauna in my digestive tract and puts me in a terrible state during and after a trip. This is why I prefer Malarone. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Favor is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 11:34 AM
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I took Larium before my recent trip to Africa and it made me go absolutely crazy. Like being on speed times ten. It took several days (and tranquilizers) to get it out of my system. In talking to the many people we met during our trip, only Americans seem to still be taking Larium. The Europeans and particularly South Africans stopped taking it years ago because of the horrible side effects. The camp managers at one of our safari camps told us stories of people running through the camp in the middle of the night (not a good idea in a bush camp) because they were having Larium related psychotic episodes. I have heard good things about both Malarone and the doxycycline. The other thing that many locals recommended is lots of gin and tonic! My favorite remedy.
cheri is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 11:55 AM
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I was under the impression that doxycycline was less effective than Malarone.

We actually took doxy with zero problems last time (I, with olive skin, did get a bit of a sunburn). Was thinking of asking for Malarone this time. But then again, had no probs with doxy and really didn't encounter mosquitoes except on Zanzibar.

The strange thing is my doctor just prescribed the antimalarial as if there were only ONE choice. Perhaps that's the case with my HMO.
Leely is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 12:08 PM
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Leely -

If you belong to an HMO, your physician can probably prescribe any of the anti-malarials. It's whether you have a drug plan thru the HMO that will deterimine what they will pay.

I'm on a 3-tiered program, where generics like doxcy is $10; and now that Lariam is now offered as a generic (mefloquine) and would cost the same; the Malarone is the 2nd-tier (approved brand meds) and should be $25, but this last script cost $35... all better then full retail of around $100. 3rd-tier (non-approved brand meds) runs $50.

Regardless, as Kavey's thread re her dad's recent bout with malaria - do take your meds whatever the cost.

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