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The effects of the antimalarial mefloquine have been canvassed by Professor James Beeson, Burnet Institute’s Head of Biomedical Research, for ABC Television’s Lateline.
The Lateline report focused on concerns the drug, which is widely prescribed for travellers and which offers the benefit of being taken weekly rather than daily, can cause panic attacks, hallucinations and psychosis.
“In a small number of cases, people can have quite serious psychological effects from mefloquine,” Professor Beeson said.
Professor Beeson said it’s important to assess each person individually, to understand his or her risks, medical condition, medical history and current environment.
“When we use antimalarial drugs to help protect people against malaria, we’re balancing the benefits of protection against malaria, which is a serious disease, a life-threatening disease, versus the risks of taking these medications,” Professor Beeson said.
A preventable disease, malaria causes more than 440,000 deaths globally each year, primarily in tropical and sub-tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America.
To view the Lateline report and read a full transcript, click here.