By Elissa Meininger – Health Policy Analyst
Being a journalist who looks to history as a primary source of information, I often ask myself what were they thinking? or what’s wrong with this picture?
So, let’s ask, “What’s Wrong With The CDC Picture?“
In the world of dealing with malaria, a topic I was researching for an article, I came up with some astounding information which I want to share with you. But, first, you need to put on what I call your “clear-eyed grandma’s thinking cap” so you can apply common sense to what you are reading.
On the CDC website, I found a story about a fellow who came down with a very serious case of malaria after traveling abroad.
The CDC gleefully featured his situation in an article to trash homeopathy as a valid way to prevent and treat malaria. The article clearly stated “homeopathic medications are not regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration”. THIS IS NOT TRUE. By an act of Congress in 1938, homeopathic drugs have been regulated by the FDA!
So much for accuracy.
The CDC failed to mention the brand name of the homeopathic formula this man used so we have no idea what the real situation is. There are several ways to prevent and treat malaria using various homeopathic formulas. In this regard, the CDC’s prescription drug recommendation for malaria this fellow rejected was mefloquine also called melfloquine hydrochloride. It’s brand name is Lariam. The CDC explains in a two-page downloadable doc about mefloquine which includes useful information about the drug including the notation that mefloquine no longer works in Southeast Asia.
The CDC recommended drug mefloquine “No longer works in the place where malaria starts?”
And they recommend it?
Other useful tidbits of information includes potential side effects such as dizziness, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, vivid dreams, visual seizures, depression, and psychosis. It can also cause stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
In a quick googling on the net, I found a brisk business in lawsuits from unhappy users of this mefloquine drug.
On the Rottenstein Law Group LLP website I found the following information:
Lariam Psychiatric & Suicidal Side Effect
“Research shows the anti-malaria drug mefloquine hydrochloride—formerly sold under the brand name Lariam—might cause psychiatric abnormalities, suicidal ideations and behaviors, and potentially permanent nerve damage. Because of these psychiatric side effects, the drug’s manufacturer, Hoffmann-La Roche, pulled it from the market in 2008. The U.S. Army continued to administer it to soldiers, however, until 2011, when the army ceased prescribing Lariam even for soldiers deployed in malaria-prone regions such as Afghanistan. In July 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified the public that mefloquine products’ drug labels would be updated with a black box warning—the agency’s most serious kind—concerning the aforementioned side effects.
What Is Lariam and What Is It Prescribed For?
Once prescribed to treat acute malaria infections, Lariam is the brand name for the drug mefloquine hydrochloride, a synthetic analogue to the ancient anti-malaria drug quinine (quinine sulfate). How it works is still not understood, but it is believed to be toxic to the parasites that cause malaria. It reduces the intense, debilitating shivering that malaria causes.
View Lariam updates
See other lawsuits in:
Although the U.S. Army discovered and began using mefloquine since the 1970s, Hoffmann-LaRoche didn’t receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market Lariam until 1989. The company pulled Lariam in 2008, however. Until then, it came in the form of 250 mg oral tablets taken weekly to prevent malaria infection. Upon diagnosis, malaria patients would begin taking five pills at a time.
Lariam Might Cause Suicidal Ideations and Behavior Side Effects
The FDA documented cases of individuals who took the drug and later reported the following symptoms, even after treatment concluded:
Restlessness; Confusion; Unusual behavior; Severe anxiety; Paranoia; Hallucinations; Depression; and Suicidal ideation.
An Associated Press story reported that U.S. Military personnel claimed to have experienced the following additional symptoms:
Nightmares; “Complete mental breakdowns”; Short-term memory loss; Permanent damage to one’s sense of balance; and Army studies claimed the rate of psychiatric problems was one per 2,000-13,000, but Army Major and epidemiologist, Dr. Remington Nevin, published research showing that Lariam might be toxic to the brain, which causes the psychiatric and suicidal symptoms.
Finally, the FDA’s July 2013 drug safety communication included the following adverse side effects:
Dizziness, Ringing in the ears, Convulsions or seizures, Insomnia
The FDA advises that these side effects can continue for months or years after mefloquine treatment ends.
And There Is More……
Continue reading CDC – A Garden of Misinformation About the Prevention and Treatment of Malaria, and More…