Antimalarial tablets must always be used alongside mosquito bite prevention. These two measures together give you the best protection from malaria. However, rarely infection from malaria can still occur.
If you develop symptoms of malaria during your trip, or on return home, you must seek medical attention urgently, even if you have been taking your antimalarial tablets.
The following mefloquine tablets are available and licensed in the UK for malaria chemoprophylaxis:
- Lariam® 250mg tablets.
- The adult dose is one tablet taken once a week.
- The child dose is determined by your child’s weight. This should be discussed with your doctor.
Patient information leaflet (PIL)
You should always read the manufacturer’s patient information leaflet (PIL) before taking any medications. The PIL lists the possible side effects of the medication and also lists any medicines that may be affected by taking it.
If you are regularly taking other medications (even over the counter tablets), you should always discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure it is safe to take mefloquine.
How to take the medicine
The course should be started at least one week before entering a country with a risk of malaria; taken weekly for the entire duration of your stay; and continued for 4 weeks after leaving the affected area.
- If you have never taken mefloquine before, you may be recommended to start the course two to three weeks before departure to detect in advance if you are likely to develop side effects to the drug.
- This will allow time for an alternative drug to be prescribed if necessary.
- Mefloquine tablets should be taken after a meal, with plenty of water and at the same time on the same day each week.
- It is very important to complete the course.
- Long term use of mefloquine is reported to be safe if the medicine is not causing any side effects. You should always check with a doctor if you are unsure.
You should check with a doctor if you have kidney disease, a heart condition, liver disease, epilepsy or convulsions; or a psychiatric condition before taking this medication.
Mefloquine is sometimes prescribed during pregnancy in special circumstances.
- If you are pregnant or breast feeding, you should always speak to your midwife or doctor for advice before taking anti-malarial medications or travelling to a malaria-endemic country.
You should try to avoid becoming pregnant (conceiving) for 3 months after stopping this medication as the drug might still be in your system.