The anti-malaria drug has been used for years by the military and by international travelers. Mefloquine, sold as Lariam in the US, must now carry a "black box" warning on its label because of the drug's serious neurological and psychiatric side effects.
Dr. Remington Nevin, a former Army epidemologist who's done extensive research on the drug's side-effects—including depression, anxiety, nightmares, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations—helped persuade the FDA to issue the warning.
"Mefloquine belongs to a class of drugs known to be neurotoxic which is associated with permanent brain injury," he says. "It remains licensed for use, but I think the latest warnings by the FDA will spell the demise of mefloquine among most travelers."
Unfortunately, said Dr. Nevin, the drug is still being used by the US military but only as a "last resort."
Lariam/Mefloquine has been blamed for causing a number of violent deaths.
"The military has had a hard time educating its medics and service members of the true dangers of the drug."