On July 29, the F.D.A. announced that the anti-malaria drug, Lariam, must carry the “black box” warning on its label due to the serious risk of neurological and psychiatric side effects, which may be permanent.
A black box warning is only used for those drugs whose side effects are considered extremely severe.
Lariam, the brand name of the drug mefloquine hydrochloride, has been known to cause side effects including ringing in the ears, depression and hallucinations. The announcement from the F.D.A. clarified that some of the symptoms, like dizziness and loss of balance, may become permanent. The agency has added that some of the psychiatric symptoms may persist for months or even years after the patient stops taking the drug.
The favoritism for the drug arose because it could be taken once a week instead of once a day. The warnings on its label increased steadily over the last decade.
Mefloquine is the third-most-prescribed anti-malaria drug among Americans. Approximately 119,000 prescriptions have been written from January 2013 through June 2013.
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Read the full article and learn more about the drug here.
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