21 Jun 2017
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General Info: Uses and Effects
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by the decomposition of erythrocytes infected with the Plasmodium parasite. The most significant clinical features of this condition are constant fever and high body temperature. The main bearers of these bacteria are mosquitoes, which are especially represented in tropical areas.
Lariam is a drug that has proven to be very successful in treating the symptoms of malaria since the vaccine still does not exist on the market. These tablets contain the active ingredient Mefloquine, which is known as an antimalarial agent.
In addition to treating advanced symptoms of malaria, Lariam can also be used as a preventative drug; it's often prescribed as a therapy for people planning to visit risk areas. In this case, doctors often recommend this drug as the initial reaction to the sting of a potentially infected mosquito.
People who travel to these areas, tourist or business, in case of suspected malaria, will usually be able to get medical help. However, if this is not timely available, malaria treatment can be applied independently, and this is why doctors prescribe Lariam as a "stand-by" treatment.
Early diagnosis is crucial for the successful treatment of malaria. Anyone suspected of being infected should promptly seek medical attention and require a blood test so the presence of parasites that cause this infectious disease can be determined.
Contraindication: Important to Know
There are certain conditions when it is not recommended to use Lariam. It has been established that in people suffering from schizophrenia, the active substance Mefloquine can worsen symptoms. Also, in patients with diagnoses of depression, anxiety or other established psychosis, doctors shouldn't use this drug as a therapy.
Lariam Mefloquine contains lactose, a milk sugar, which is a potential allergen. If patients experience allergic reactions such as skin irritation, swelling or increased body temperature, the therapy should be declined and replaced with an adequate substituent. In addition, if it turns out that the cause of an allergic reaction is any other drug substance, for which it was not known before the start of the therapy, it should immediately be stopped to avoid the risk of anaphylactic shock.
In case of severe kidney and liver disease, the use of Lariam is more likely to cause side effects. Also, in people taking medicines for blood sugar control, Mefloquine can disrupt the production of insulin, and cause hypoglycemia.
Pregnancy and lactation
Because of the serious consequences of malaria, pregnant women or women planning to get pregnant should avoid the risk of being infected. Considering there is no detailed study of the effects of Lariam Mefloquine in pregnant women, Lariam therapy can be carried out as needed, but in strict adherence to indications and with enhanced medical supervision.
In the case of lactation, it is known that the active substance of the drug transfers into the mother's milk in a smaller amount, but the effect of Mefloquine on the fetus is not yet known; physicians do not prescribe Lariam in breastfeeding women.
Instructions on Taking
Do not take Lariam on an empty stomach, and be sure to drink it with plenty of water or any other fluid. In the case of side effects, such as vomiting, take repeated dose, unless nausea persists. If vomiting endures, contact a doctor. If you have trouble swallowing the drug, you can crash it and mix it in the water.
Mefloquine can make you sleepy and dizzy. These symptoms may persist for some time after you finish therapy. Do not drive a car or operate machines until you find out how these medicines affect you. In case that Lariam therapy disturbs your everyday activities, inform your doctor.
In case you are planning a trip to some of the countries identified as risk areas, the doctor will prescribe the Lariam therapy at least two weeks before the journey. The prescribed dose is one 250mg pill per week. Continue the treatment during the trip once a week, and at least four weeks after the end of the journey. If there is a need to increase the dose, contact the nearest hospital.
If a patient continues therapy with Lariam, the recommended dose of Mefloquine is max 25mg per kilogram of body weight once a week. The doctor will advise you to split the dose in order to follow the possible side effects.
In the case of diagnosed disease, five pills are taken at once (1250mg at once). If no symptom improvement is observed after a maximum of three days, therapy with Lariam should be canceled, and replaced with an alternative drug.
Lariam Mefloquine can be recommended as a standby therapy when emergency medical aid is unavailable within 24 hours after first symptoms occurred. You should start self-treatment with a dose of 15mg/kg (three pills), and if no side effects in the next couple of hours, take another dose of two Lariam pills.
If your physician can't associate side effects with the symptoms of the disease, it can be said that the most frequent contraindications of Lariam are nausea and vomiting, which occurs in three out of 100 patients. In a smaller number of cases, excessive fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or pain in the abdomen can happen. Neuropsychiatric symptoms such as a headache, dizziness, or sleep disorder are possible too.
The occurrence of skin disorder, heart malfunction, the feeling of weakness or some psychosomatic difficulties are not common side effects, so you should report it to your doctor.
Interactions with Other Drugs
The list of drugs that may have potential interaction with Lariam is long (more than 400), and you should inform your doctor if you are already on some therapy:
- Medicines for the treatment of malaria such as Halofantrine;
- Antiseizure medications;
- Vaccines for infectious diseases such as typhoid or chickenpox;
- Halofantrine or Ketoconazole may have serious consequences in combination with Lariam and are not recommended for use at least three months after cessation of therapy with Mefloquine.
If you are already taking quinine-based medicines, using Lariam can increase the risk of developing severe heart disorders.
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