Medical experts have today published new health advice that backs the continued use of ‘Lariam’ by travellers from the UK.
The Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention’s (ACMP) “Guidelines for malaria prevention in travellers from the UK 2015” concluded there should be no changes to existing recommendations regarding mefloquine (trade name Lariam).
The ACMP is an expert advisory committee of Public Health England, which formulates evidence-based guidelines on malaria prevention for travellers from the UK.
The committee continues to recommend mefloquine’s use, as long as individual risk assessments are undertaken prior to its consumption. Since 2013 it has been Ministry of Defence (MOD) policy that mefloquine is only ever prescribed to Armed Forces personnel after such an assessment.
The MOD uses a range of malaria prevention drugs to ensure treatment provided is the most effective.
We welcome the publication of the updated guidelines, which reiterate that mefloquine is a safe and viable option in preventing an extremely serious and life-threatening disease.
The ACMP met in June 2015 to finalise the revised guidelines and assessed current evidence on the use of mefloquine as provided by the manufacturer Roche, as well as recommendations made by other countries. The report found that overall mefloquine remains an important anti-malarial agent which is tolerated by the majority of travellers who take it.
Mefloquine is used by civilians and military personnel throughout the world. The MOD and ACMP continues to keep under review its use of all anti-malaria drugs and will monitor and assess any new data that emerges.
The MOD needs to be able to use the most appropriate drug for the areas where our people are deployed to help ensure their resistance to this disease. The choice of prescribed treatment depends upon a number of factors including the region to which personnel are being deployed and the individual’s medical history.
Further clarification on the MOD’s policy on prescribing the drug can be found here.