Malaria Home > Lariam Warnings and Precautions
If you have certain problems with your heart or liver, you may not be able to safely use Lariam. Other warnings and precautions with this antimalarial medication apply to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, you should not use this drug if you have a seizure disorder or any mental illness, such as depression or an anxiety disorder.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Lariam® (mefloquine hydrochloride) if you have:
- Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
- Heart disease, such as congestive heart failure
- Heart rhythm problems, including atrial fibrillation (afib), QT prolongation, or history of an abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Ever had a seizure
- Blood clotting problems, or take "blood-thinning" medications (anticoagulants)
- Any mental health problem, including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, or schizophrenia
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Specific Precautions and Warnings for LariamSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
- Lariam may increase the risk for seizures. If you have ever had a seizure (for any reason), you should tell your healthcare provider before taking this medication. Because of the potential risk for seizures, Lariam should only be used in people with a seizure disorder if there are no other treatment options.
- Lariam may cause dizziness, a spinning sensation (vertigo), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or loss of balance. These side effects can become permanent. Let your healthcare provider know right away if you develop these side effects, as you should be switched to a different drug right away.
- Lariam may cause serious emotional or mental health problems, even in people who do not have a history of such problems. In some people, these problems continued even after Lariam was stopped. Potential emotional problems from Lariam use include:
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling paranoid, or mistrustful of others
- Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)
- Feeling restless, nervous, or agitated
- Thoughts of suicide.
If you experience any of these reactions while taking Lariam, contact your healthcare provider immediately. These side effects may become permanent. You may need to stop Lariam and start another antimalarial medication.
- Some people may need long-term Lariam treatment. If you use Lariam for a long period of time, your healthcare provider will likely monitor your liver function. You will also need to have eye examinations, because medications like Lariam may cause eye problems when taken for extended periods.
- Lariam may cause serious heart rhythm problems. People who already have heart problems or who are taking other medications that can cause arrhythmias may be at an increased risk for this complication.
- If you develop fever or flu-like symptoms after returning from a malaria area, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Tell him or her that you may have been exposed to malaria.
- Lariam may interact with a number of other medications (see Lariam Drug Interactions for more information).
- Lariam is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are unknown (see Lariam and Pregnancy).
- Lariam passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Lariam and Breastfeeding).