What is Lariam?
Lariam is taken preventatively to lower your risk of contracting malaria when traveling to a malaria risk zone. Malaria is a life threatening disease and a major health risk for travellers visiting tropical countries.
How does Lariam work?
Lariam tablets contain the active ingredient mefloquine. Mefloquine works by attacking the malaria parasites once they have entered the red blood cells. It kills the parasites and prevents them from multiplying further. It is not fully understood how mefloquine kills the parasites, but it is an effective form of malaria prevention.
How do you take Lariam?
Always take this medicine exactly as it has been prescribed to you by your doctor or pharmacist.
Take one tablet weekly, always on the same day. Take the first dose 10 days before you leave. Take the second dose 3 days before you leave. Continue taking the tablets on the same day of the week throughout your stay and for 4 weeks after your return.
Take the tablets with plenty of water, preferably after a meal. Swallow the tablets whole, do not suck or chew them.
The full course of tablets is at least 6 weeks depending on the length of your stay.
How effective is Lariam?
Lariam is an effective way of preventing malaria when travelling to a malaria risk zone. In addition to taking antimalarial medication, there are precautions you should take to avoid getting bitten. These include:
- Use insect repellent on exposed areas of the skin
- Wear light coloured clothing that covers most of the body
- Sleep in a screened room or under a mosquito net
- Close windows and doors at sunset
- Consider using an insecticide (mats, sprays, plug-ins)
It is important to note that no anti-malarial tablets can be 100% guaranteed to work. There is a chance you could still get malaria during or after taking medicine to prevent it. If you develop a fever or flu-like symptoms during your travels or within 2 to 3 months of returning from the malarious area, check with a doctor immediately.
What are the side effects of Lariam?
Like all medicines, Lariam can cause side effects, although not everybody will experience them. The side effects of Lariam are usually mild to moderate and only last a short duration.
The most common side effects of Lariam are:
- Headache and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
For less frequent side effects, please see the patient information leaflet.