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Malaria Pills and Side Effects?

Old Dec 7th, 2006, 06:46 AM
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Actually, if only it were so simple that "med side effects go away after the cessation of the particular drug, depending of how long it takes for the particular drug to be metabolized and excreted." I don't know jsp, but there have been a number of well-documented cases of persistent after-effects of larium. A number of drugs can produce long-lasting after-effects.

It sounds like an awful experience, jsp.
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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Here's an update based on our personal experience. We recently came back from India, and we'd asked the doc to change our meds to malarone. We took it with food and had no problem. No side effects whatsoever.

Thanks all for the warnings about lariam!
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 11:40 AM
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I just double checked with one of the PharmD's at work (Phd. in pharmacology) and he said that drug is long gone in a few weeks time. Two yrs. is way too long to consider. At that point its not the drug.
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 11:44 AM
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Jacketwatch, the drug is gone, but there can be lingering effects from a drug long after it is gone from the body. Talk with your PharmD about drugs that have long-term or permanent effects long after all of the drug has been metabolized and excreted. There are many examples.
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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take doxy or malarone. doxy is veyr effective and much cheaper than malarone but i've heard of people having bad side effects from larium also.
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 12:23 PM
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Kathie: I did talk to him most specifically about this and thats the answer I got. and I aggree to. I suppose we will just disagree aboutt this. I still say two yrs. is way beyond belief inre to drug side effects. It makes no sense. JM2C.
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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Whatever you do - DON'T take larium.

I chose the prospect of malaria over the awful, awful nightmares I experienced. What is worse, these dreams stay with you - I could tell you now, in vivid detail, what I experienced four years ago in Africa - arghhh - I'm feeling disturbed just thinking about it.
Just don't. Please.
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 06:52 PM
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just finished 19 days of malerone for my trip in india with zero side affects
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Old Dec 7th, 2006, 07:18 PM
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jacketwatch, ask your ParmD about tardive dyskensia, a permanent side effect of anti-psycotic medication. Just one example of how a drug can long-term or permanently alter someone's functioning.
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Old Dec 8th, 2006, 01:23 AM
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Kathie: That is a PHYSICAL SE of long term usage of anti-psychotic medication and is more common in the elderly. Lariam is not in that class of drug, is taken short term and there are no such reported SE's. There are also no reported long term (i.e. two yrs.) mental SE's either, esp. for two yrs. In a matter of weeks the drug has been excreted. You can't compare TD with a supposed 2 yr. schizo episode. Its like compare apples to oranges. I feel for this poster but if these mental effects lasted two yrs. is can't be the drug.
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Old Dec 8th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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jacketwatch, perhaps we really have wandered off topic (but I do love these kinds of discussions). I used TD as an example as it appeared to me that you were maintaining that a SE couldn't last beyond the life of the drug in the body. TD is a well-known example of a side effect that lasts permanently. It has been documented in some cases after a very short time on the drugs. It is a physical side effect apparently due to changes in dopamine metabolism in the brain. As you know, changes in the concentrations and metabolism of neurotransmitters in the brain are the physical manifestation of psychological/psychiatric illnesses.

There have been published studies of long-term side effects of larium, including paranoid psychotic episodes and episodes of psychotic depression lasting several years. It's a rare effect, but it does occur. A number of years ago, Consumer Reports published an article about larium. It was nicely done, accessible to the general reader. They cited stats on side effects and gave brief synopses of some case studies of long-term psychiatric effects of larium. I think you can still access the article at their website.

There are other drugs that are well-known for long-term psychiatric effects, mostly drugs of abuse. IV Amphetimine abuse is well-known for inducing psychotic episodes, including psychotic episodes that are years in duration (obviously long after the drug and its metabolites have been excreted).

Perhaps I should also mention that cortisone can induce psychotic symptoms with higher doses or longer use. I remember a young womna with rhumatiod arthritis who became paranoid enough that she had to be hospitalized. She improved with the withdrawal of the cortisone, but had some lingering symptoms for one to two years afterwards.
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Old Dec 8th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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Kathie: I do agree that symptoms can linger with long term use. I did ask another PhamrD today and his answer was the same as his colleauge's about this. Perhaps someone can report such symptoms but anything can happen once. I looked into it too and really can't find anything to substantiate this. So based on that and what two teaching professors at the college of pharmacy here told me and my own experience as a critical care RN for 28 yrs. I can only conclude what I have previously stated inre to effects of short term lariam use. If such effects lingered for two yrs. I think there has to be other reasons of factors. I am just plain skeptical about that. it seems too far out there to me but of course that is my opinion only. BTW I do recall having a pt. who became severly depressed after we began a lidocaine drip but she was fine once we stopped it. This was many yrs. ago. Lido. is not in vogue anymore. Cheers, Larry
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Old Dec 8th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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Kathie: Do you have a link to that site or article? Thank you.
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Old Dec 8th, 2006, 01:29 PM
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As a last-year neurology resident, we are often asked to determine if certain behaviors are caused by meds. As Kathie mentioned, antipsychotics can cause permanent movement disorders/rigidity, called tardive dyskinesias. As for the steroids, the psychiatric symptoms usually go away within a few weeks after the treatment stopped... the more pressing question for both that and any other med is whether the person has any other predisposition to mental illness (family background, or unnoted seizures that were maybe mistaken as staring spells), or is it truely the medication. Many street drugs, most notable PCP and LSD, as well as nameles others can permanently alter the structure of the brain. That said, it seems that Larium has had enough people report psychiatric side effects to make the number statistically significant... once we use our PET scans on a more routine basis, we'll know for sure.
Personally, I would just stick to Malarone.
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Old Dec 8th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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Given that Lariam is a highly specific drug, there is no reason for someone who doesnt't work with it often or study it to be well versed in the possible side effects and reported side effects. With the number of drugs on the market today, a thorough understanding of each and every one of them by the average pharmacist is simply unreasonable. I'm sure the people jacketwatch asked about Lariam are well educated and respected professionals. But, I doubt they are "Lariam specialists." The general consensus is that Lariam is safe for everybody and easy to take...and that is so for many, but not for all.

Here are some links to government information. The US Gov't used Lariam for troops long before it was approved for the general public. They warn of persistent side effects and even include it as a special topic for VA care.

"Symptoms may continue long after mefloquine use has been stopped." from http://deploymenthealthlibrary.fhp.o...m)%20(160).pdf

" The most severe and persistent adverse effects appear in “case reports.” In those
instances, consistent with the nature of a case report, the relevant signs and symptoms began
while mefloquine was being taken, and persisted in some reports for weeks, months or even
years after the drug was stopped. NOTE: Mefloquine has a long half-life in humans of 15 to 30
days. Adverse effects that are reported to persist for significant periods after the drug is stopped,
or that could be associated with long-term health effects, include the following which lists in
decreasing frequency the cases; NOTE: The reported number of individual cases and the
number of published reports for that health effect are shown in parenthesis; i.e., 16/12 means
that there were sixteen reported cases and twelve published reports." from

Severe and persistent side effects:
"(1) Anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, depression, suicidal ideation, cognitive and other (1) Anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, depression, suicidal ideation, cognitive and other
neuropsychiatric symptoms (16/12),

(2) Acute and paranoid psychosis (10/9),

(3) Convulsions, grand mal seizures, coma and abnormal electroencephalography (EEG)

(4) High frequency sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus, with partial or no remission (3/1),

(5) Acute lung injury with diffuse alveolar damage (2/1),

(6) Elevated liver function tests or fatty liver (2/2),

(7) Multifocal myoclonus (1/1),

(8) Fatal toxic epidermal necrolysis (1/1),

(9) Trigeminal sensory neuropathy (1/1),

(10) Atrial flutter (1/1), and

(11) Mefloquine overdose induced encephalopathy (1/1). "
for a bibliography of reliable sources of information including info about persistent side effects.

For more, just google "lariam persistent side effects."

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Old Dec 8th, 2006, 07:05 PM
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jacketwatch and others (Larry, I'm amazed we still have people reading our rather arcane discussion), I checked teh consumer reports website today and they do not have their report on Larium available on the website any longer. They say it was published in the March 2002 issue, so it should be something you can locate at your library.

Junejuly and Kim, thanks for your additions to this discussion.
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Kathie: We disagree here but I think you are so cool. Larry
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Thanks, Larry. I know I tend to "lecture" about medical topics and hope that I don't alienate people by doing so.
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 08:55 AM
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Not me hun.
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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Getting back to the topic it is clear there are cases, though very few of incredibly long term mental discomforts after taking this drug. I tend to agree with Junejuly here inre to previous psych issues and/or familial predispositions as a mitigating factor or one worthy of investigation. I disagree about the notion of Lariam "specialists." I think that is too narrow a focus of study. Those who have advanced knowledge of the fundamentals of pharmacology have a solid basis to opine on this matter. I've seen these two gentleman practice for 10-15 yrs. and IMHO they are very intelligent and have achieved positions as tenured professors through research and clinical excellence. I've learned to respect their opinions too. They are nearly always right. JM2C. Larry.
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