Mefloquine provides a safe and effective choice for malaria prevention and treatment, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance is a concern. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the prevention of malaria in the vast majority of malaria regions.
Before Using Mefloquine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For mefloquine, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to mefloquine, quinidine (e.g., Quinidex), quinine, or any related medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—It is best if pregnant women can avoid traveling to areas where there is a chance of getting malaria. However, if travel is necessary, mefloquine may be used for women traveling to areas where the parasite is resistant to chloroquine. Pregnant women are advised to report to their doctor any side effects following the use of mefloquine.
Breast-feeding—Mefloquine passes into the breast milk in small amounts. However, the amount in breast milk is not enough to prevent the infant from getting malaria.
Children—Children should avoid traveling to areas where there is a chance of getting malaria, unless they can take effective antimalarial medicines such as mefloquine.
Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of mefloquine in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking mefloquine, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:
Halofantrine (e.g., Halfan)
Quinidine (e.g., Quinidex) or
Verapamil (e.g., Calan)—Use of these medicines together with mefloquine may result in slow heartbeat and other heart problems; also, an increased chance of convulsions (seizures) may occur when quinine is taken together with mefloquine
Chloroquine (e.g., Aralen)—Use of chloroquine with mefloquine may increase the chance of convulsions (seizures)
Divalproex (e.g., Depakote) or
Valproic acid (e.g., Depakene)—Use of these medicines together with mefloquine may result in low blood levels of valproic acid and an increased chance of convulsions (seizures)
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of mefloquine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Convulsions (seizures), history of or
Heart block or
Heart rhythm disturbance or
Psychiatric (mental) disorders, history of—Mefloquine may make these conditions worse