- Side Effects
- Patient Information Leaflet
What is Lariam
Lariam is a prescription-only, antimalarial medication used in the treatment and prevention of malaria. It contains the active ingredient mefloquine, a suppressive antibiotic which cures malaria once the infection is in the bloodstream.
Malaria can be life-threatening and is prevalent in many tropical and subtropical countries. It is a parasitic infection passed on by the bite from a mosquito with the disease, though the mosquito itself can only be infected by biting a human who already has malaria. As such, using a prevention medication before you travel is not just beneficial for your health but a positive way to help stop the spread of malaria.
Can I buy Lariam Online?
Lariam can be purchased online from Click Pharmacy after a short assessment of your requirements and current medical situation. For example, the doctor will discuss where you are travelling to and how long for, as well as asking about any other current medications you are taking. The consultation is free, confidential and performed online over Skype or email, so you needn’t leave home to get your prescription.
From there, you will be advised which anti-malaria treatment is right for you, and it will be sent to you in the following pack sizes:
One week (8 tablets)
Two weeks (9 tablets)
Three weeks (10 tablets)
Four weeks (11 tablets)
Six weeks (13 tablets)
Five months (24 tablets)
How effective is Lariam?
Lariam is effective at treating and preventing mild to moderate malaria. The medication is commonly used in areas where there is a hard-to-treat form of malaria or when other medications may not be effective.
Malaria transmission is highest in West Africa, where the parasites are resistant to the drug chloroquine, and yet they are sensitive to Lariam. As such, Larium is often prescribed for anyone travelling to these types of high-risk area.
Due to this ineffectiveness of some forms of antimalarial tablet, it is important to discuss which treatment is right for your particular trip and the country you are travelling to.
What are the advantages of taking Lariam?
Aside from its attractive lower cost, one great advantage of choosing Lariam over other anti-malaria drugs is that it only needs to be taken once a week rather than every day. For a traveller who has a lot on their mind in the lead up to their trip, this could be a safer way to take this necessary drug as, if you miss one of the daily drugs, you may not be properly covered for your time away in a high-risk area.
It is also considered safe for pregnant women and children to take, but this should be discussed with your doctor at Click Pharmacy before deciding to go ahead with Lariam whilst pregnant.
What dose should I choose?
It is important that you take the exact dose that has been prescribed to you. For adults, this is usually one tablet each week starting 1 week before you travel to a high-risk area. If you already take other medications, it is advisable to start taking Lariam 2 or 3 weeks prior to travel to ensure that the combination of drugs is tolerable. The medication should then be continued throughout your trip on the same day each week and then for a further 4 weeks upon your return home.
For more information on dosages, you can read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication and discuss it with your GP prior to getting your prescription.
How should I take Lariam?
Take one tablet with plenty of water right after you finish your main meal of the day, as the medication should not be taken on an empty stomach. If the tablet cannot be swallowed whole, it may be crushed or mixed in water, but make sure that you receive the whole dose.
If you vomit less than 30 minutes after taking the drug, it may be advised that you take a secondary full dose. If vomiting occurs between 30 minutes and one hour after taking the tablet, a half dose may be recommended.
For more information on dosages in case of vomiting, you can also ask your GP or our experts at Click Pharmacy for additional guidance.
How does Lariam work?
The parasites which cause malaria are known as Plasmodium, which is injected by the bite of an infected mosquito. The parasites then go onto reproduce and eventually, if left without prevention or treatment, result in the disease Malaria.
Lariam contains a drug called Mefloquine which attacks the Plasmodium within the red blood cells, thus preventing them from further developing.
Although effective at fighting against the malarial parasites, the treatment does not prevent you from being bitten by a mosquito in the first place, as such it is important to use other forms of prevention such as keeping your skin covered, wearing a high percentage DEET repellent and using a mosquito net at night and over the doors and windows of your accommodation.
What are the side effects of Lariam?
Like all medications, there are possible side effects associated with Lariam. Side effects can include headaches, dizziness, aching joints, fainting, fever, sleep disturbances and loss of balance.
The active ingredient mefloquine contained within the drug has also been linked to various psychiatric effects, such as panic attacks, depression and anxiety so it is likely not to be prescribed if you have experienced any mental health disturbances prior to taking this medication.
Serious allergies are very rare but if you notice reactions such as a rash, itching and/or swelling of the face, throat or tongue, issues breathing or severe dizziness then call for help right away.
If you experience any of these side effects, contact a medical professional straight away and if you have never used the treatment before, healthcare experts will normally recommend that you undergo a trial period to see how you respond to it.
Alternatives to Lariam
In some cases, Lariam does not work. Not only that, but the choice of antimalarial comes down to personal preference and suitability. Due to this, you can find various antimalarial medications available over the counter and on prescription in the UK. Before choosing an alternative, it is crucial to consult your GP or pharmacist, as they will let you know of the benefits and risks associated with each treatment. Alternatives to Lariam include:
Lariam and other medication
Although Lariam is an antimalarial, it is known to interact with other medications. Inform your GP if you are currently using any of the following medicines:
- Valproic acid (also known as valproate)
What is the active ingredient in Lariam Tablets?
The active ingredient in Lariam Tablets is mefloquine. This ingredient is an antibiotic used to treat infections directly from the bloodstream.
Can pregnant or breastfeeding women use Lariam Tablets?
Although Lariam Tablets are considered to be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, it is advised to consult with a GP, pharmacist or midwife before using them.
Can I crush Lariam Tablets if I struggle to swallow?
It is safe to crush Lariam Tablets and combine with water if you struggle to swallow one whole capsule.
What should I do if I vomit after taking Lariam Tablets?
If you vomit within an hour of consuming your dose of Lariam Tablets, it is advised to take half a dose. This is to ensure your body receives a dose and works effectively against the infection.
What causes malaria?
Malaria is passed into the bloodstream by a bite from a mosquito who is a carrier of the disease. This bite causes the bloodstream to gain bacterial cells which cause an infection throughout the body.
Similar to all medicines, you are likely to experience different side effects from using Lariam Tablets. Common side effects can include the following:
- Feeling dizzy
- Insomnia (struggle to sleep)
- Aches and pains around the body
The active ingredient in Lariam Tablets, mefloquine, has links to psychiatric conditions such as panic attacks and depression. If you suffer from mental health problems you are likely to experience more severe side effects. It is advised to not use this product if you suffer from mental health problems as the side effects have life threatening potential.