Lariam (Mefloquine)

  • Malaria Prevention
  • Effective treatment
  • Treats other bacterial infections

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About Lariam (Mefloquine)
  1. What is Lariam?

    Lariam is a medicine that is taken to treat and prevent people from catching malaria when visiting a tropical country.

    These tablets contain mefloquine as the active ingredient and can be taken by adults and children over 3 months old.

    To buy Lariam tablets, you must have a prescription.

    What is Lariam used to treat?

    Lariam is used to prevent travellers from catching the life-threatening disease malaria. It can also be taken to treat malaria if you have already caught it.

    Lariam tablets should be taken once a week at the same time. As a preventative treatment, you should start to take this medication two weeks before you travel to your destination. You should also keep taking it for four weeks when you come home, as this will make sure malaria’s incubation period is also covered.

    How does Lariam work?

    Lariam’s active ingredient, mefloquine, works to target the malaria-causing parasites. It stops these parasites from reproducing and spreading. 

    The risk of malaria can be reduced by as much as 90% when taking anti-malaria tablets such as Lariam. It is typically prescribed to be taken before, during and after your trip to successfully prevent malaria when travelling to high-risk areas.

    Why is Lariam recommended for malaria?

    Lariam contains meflonique, which is one of the four most-recommended antimalarial medicines for preventing the contraction of this disease when travelling to high-risk countries. 

    Lariam is a particularly renowned antimalarial medicine because it is able to treat this disease in regions where other antimalarials are no longer effective, due to malaria developing an immunity to them.

    Who can take Lariam?

    Lariam is not suitable for everyone to take.

    If you have ever experienced any of the following, you must not take Lariam:

    • Depression, suicidal thoughts or self-endangering behaviour
    • Allergies to mefloquine or any of the other ingredients contained in Lariam
    • Seizures, convulsions or fits
    • Severe liver problems
    • Any mental issues, such as schizophrenia, psychosis or anxiety disorder
    • Blackwater fever

    Do not take Lariam without speaking to your doctor if:

    • You have fits
    • You have epilepsy
    • You have any liver or kidney problems
    • You have a blood or lymphatic disorder
    • You have any eye problems
    • You have any heart problems, especially changes in heart rhythm
    • You have previously caught malaria while taking Lariam to prevent malaria
    • You have low blood glucose due to congenital hyperinsulinemic hypoglycaemia
    • You have pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs)
    • You have neuropathy with signs like numbness, pins and needles, unsteadiness on your feet or shaking of your hands or feet
    • You have ever had an allergic reaction to Lariam or any of the ingredients contained within it

    This information is not exhaustive. Always read the patient information leaflet for a complete list of warnings. Ask your doctor if you are not sure.

    Can you buy Lariam over the counter?

    No, you must have a prescription to buy Lariam tablets. Speak to your doctor if you are travelling to a destination that poses a malaria risk.

    Can you buy Lariam online in the UK?

    You can buy Lariam tablets online from regulated pharmacies like Medicine Direct.

    However, as Lariam is a prescription medication, we must first ask you to complete an online consultation before you can purchase it. All you need to do is answer some questions in an online questionnaire for one of our prescribers to review.

    For your own safety, do not buy any type of medication online unless it is from a regulated pharmacy like Medicine Direct.

    Lariam alternatives

    The type of antimalarial medication you should take depends on where in the world you are travelling to. This is because certain malaria has developed immunity to some medicines.

    Make sure your doctor knows where you intend to travel to, so they can prescribe an appropriate medicine.

    At Medicine Direct, we also stock Malarone, which is taken in high-risk destinations and can also work to both prevent and treat malaria. Malarone may be more suitable for people who have experienced mental health issues. 

  2. Lariam Indications and Dosage

    Take Lariam as your doctor has instructed you. Read the patient information leaflet and ask your doctor for more guidance if you are not sure.

    Our pharmacists and prescribers follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Lariam

    Adults and children who weigh over 45kg should take one tablet at the same time each week. 

    How to take Lariam

    Swallow Lariam tablets whole with a drink of water. Ideally, you should take them after a meal.

    To prevent malaria:

    • Take the dose on the same day each week.
    • Take the first dose 10 days before you leave for your destination.
    • Take the second and third doses before you leave, too.
    • Keep taking Lariam on the same day of the week while you are at your destination.
    • Continue to take Lariam for four weeks after you come home.
    • Take the entire course of tablets for full protection.
    • Do not take Lariam for longer than 12 months.

    If you miss a dose of Lariam, take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for your next dose. If it is nearly time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and keep taking Lariam as usual.

    Never take an extra dose of medicine to try and make up for missing an earlier dose.

  3. Lariam Side effects

    Like all medication, Lariam can cause side effects, although not everyone will get them.

    Common side effects

    The most common side effects are sleeping problems, such as insomnia, sleepiness and bad dreams. These affect more than 1 in 10 people.

    Common side effects may affect up to 1 in 10 users:

    • Vision problems
    • Vertigo
    • Headaches
    • Feeling dizzy
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Itching
    • Abdominal pain
    • Diarrhoea

    If any of these problems do not go away or become serious, speak to your doctor.

    Serious side effects

    The following side effects can occur at an unknown frequency while taking Lariam and can be very serious. Stop taking this medication and seek medical attention straight away if you experience any of them:

    • Fits
    • Heart problems, such as palpitations or changes in your heartbeat
    • Textural changes to your skin, particularly if you have blistering and peeling in the mouth, eyes or genitals
    • Inflammation of the lungs (pneumonitis), which can cause shortness of breath, fever, chills, cough and chest pain
    • Allergic reaction symptoms (anaphylaxis), which may include breathing problems, a severe skin rash, itching, or swelling in your mouth
    • Severe liver problems

    These lists are not exhaustive. Please consult the patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of side effects.

  4. Lariam Warnings and Precautions

    Drug interactions 

    Some medicines can interact with Lariam, so it is important that you tell your doctor if you are already taking any other prescription or non-prescription medication.

    In particular, tell them if you are currently taking or have recently taken any of the below:

    • Antihistamines
    • Medicines for heart problems or high blood pressure
    • Medicines for psychiatric disorders
    • Antidepressants
    • Medicines to treat epilepsy
    • Halofantrine
    • Any other medicines to prevent malaria, such as chloroquine or quinine
    • Ketoconazole
    • Tramadol
    • Efavirenz
    • Medicines to treat diabetes or blood clotting disorders

    Lariam may stop typhoid vaccines from working properly, so if you need an oral typhoid vaccine, have it at least three days before you begin taking Lariam.


    Lariam can cause mental issues in some people who take it. If you experience any mental problems while taking this medication, you must tell your doctor straight away.

    Lariam contains lactose, so you should speak to your doctor before taking it if you are intolerant to certain sugars.

    Pregnancy and breastfeeding

    Lariam is not normally prescribed for pregnant women. If you are pregnant, you should not travel to malarious regions.

    Women who are breastfeeding should also not take Lariam.

    Make sure you tell your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, think you might be pregnant or are breastfeeding.

    Consult the patient information leaflet for complete details on all warnings and precautions.

  5. Lariam Ingredients

    The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Mefloquine hydrochloride.

    For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics.

  6. Lariam Prices UK

    Weekly supply Quantity  Price
    1 week 8 tablets £22.99
    2 weeks 9 tablets £24.99
    3 weeks 10 tablets £25.99
    4 weeks 11 tablets £28.99
    5 weeks 12 tablets £30.99
    6 weeks 13 tablets £32.99
    8 weeks 15 tablets £35.99
    12 weeks 19 tablets £48.99
    24 weeks 32 tablets £79.99
    1 year 58 tablets £135.99


  7. Can Lariam cause psychosis?

    A possible side effect of Lariam is psychosis, although this will not affect everyone. However, it is very important that you tell your doctor if you suffer from any mental disorders, or are taking any medications for a mental disorder.

    Can I drink alcohol while I’m taking Lariam?

    It is safe to drink alcohol in moderation while taking Lariam.

    How long can I take Lariam for?

    Lariam must not be taken for longer than 12 months.

    Is it okay to take Lariam on an empty stomach?

    Ideally, you should take Lariam after a meal. This is because food helps with the absorption of the medicine into the bloodstream, so it may be less effective if taken on an empty stomach.

    Can I drive while taking Lariam?

    Common side effects of Lariam include sleepiness, dizziness and vision problems. For this reason, you are advised to not drive, cycle or operate machinery until you know how Lariam will affect you. If you experience any side effects that impair your ability to think or see clearly, do not drive.

    When will Lariam be prescribed?

    Lariam is particularly indicated for P. falciparum malaria, where the pathogen is resistant to other antimalarial drugs. Tell your doctor where you intend to travel to make sure you are prescribed the most suitable medicine.

    Is Lariam safe?

    Lariam comes with the risk of a number of side effects and is not suitable for everyone to take. This is why you must be prescribed it by a doctor. Mefloquine is recommended as a malaria pre-vention and treatment medicine by the World Health Organisation.

    Is it safe to take Lariam every day?

    You should take Lariam as your doctor has prescribed. As a preventative medicine for malaria, La-riam should only be taken once a week, on the same day each week.

    Can Lariam affect the kidneys?

    Kidney failure, infection or other issues can occur in people taking Lariam. These side effects can occur at an unknown frequency, which is why your doctor must know if you already have any type of kidney problem.

    What time of day should I take Lariam?

    Lariam tablets should be taken after a meal. Take them on the same day each week.

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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