Apr 102012

As I read this blog post two things struck me. First the drug is Lariam not Larium (it is not a “U” it is an “A”). I usually expect my health care providers to spell the drug names correctly. To proceed and misspell it incorrectly six times in that post is pretty bad. So much for spell check. 🙂 The bigger issue is that Lariam is a nasty drug with bad side effects. There are much better choices in antimalarials, such as Malarone, for treating those types of infections. Malarone is more expensive but you should not end up in a phych ward with suicidal tendencies. I knew that the military was/is investigating Lariam and the Afgan murders. I will be interested to see how that works out, but in the minimum it should concern you that the military thinks Lariam could drive you to that point.

My concern is that those who are treating persistent Lyme are somewhat “bucking the system” and thus willing to take riskier drugs. I know you want to be better, but be careful. The drug I took and was very concerned about was Levaquin. Levaquin is effectively a black box warning drug; as with all in that class. I was very concerned about permanent damage and I do not think I was getting a good return on my investment in that class of drugs.

As always be informed about what you are taking and ask questions. Lyme doctors are already going to be living on the edge of treatment protocols so if you are seeing one be extra careful. Do not be afraid to ask questions, ask if another drug would work as well, or just say no.

  One Response to “Unnecessary Risks in Lyme Treatment”

  1. Erik, thanks for the excellent comment and the perfect spelling. Patients need to ask about side effects and risks of a drug before they decide to take it. I wish I had a dollar for every mefloquine (Lariam) sufferer who wished he/she had been given the chance to read the “fine print” before they took this drug. The medical profession ought to make “informed consent” part of medical practice.

    Many experts think that persons who have adverse reactions to mefloquine are more likely than others to have similar reactions to Levaquin and the other quinolone antibiotics. There are more than 30 drugs in that class, many familiar ones like Cipro and Avelox, as well as Levaquin. (Google for a complete list.) In my opinion, the treatment shouldn’t create more problems than the disease itself.

    Those who require something for malaria prevention, consider familiar old doxycycline. Pennies a day, and sun sensitivity and increased chance of yeast infections for women are its typical effects. It is as effective at prevention as mefloquine and Malarone, and it won’t put you in the psych ward.

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