August 22, 2002 - Charlotte Observer: Links to Lariam sought in Fort Bragg killing

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 08 August 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: August 22, 2002 - Charlotte Observer: Links to Lariam sought in Fort Bragg killing

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 4:40 pm: Edit Post

Links to Lariam sought in Fort Bragg killing

Read and comment on this story about the about the possible link between the use of Lariam by our troops in Afghanistan and whether behavioral or physical problems caused by Lariam might be involved in a series of domestic killings at Fort Bragg by soldiers who have used the drug.

Lariam is the most effective anti-malarial drug known and has been used by thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers over the past ten years. However, the drug's potential side effects are rarely reported and include agitation, depression and aggression.

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Links sought in Fort Bragg killings*

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Links sought in Fort Bragg killings
Investigators to check whether malaria drug, behavior were common


Associated Press

RALEIGH - The Pentagon may send a medical team to investigate whether behavioral or physical problems might be involved in a series of domestic killings at Fort Bragg, an Army spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The review would include an examination of the Army's preferred anti-malaria drug Lariam, which carries rare reported side effects that include agitation, depression and aggression.

The drug's manufacturer, Roche Laboratories Inc., acknowledges cases of suicide and suicidal thoughts have been reported, but says they are extremely rare.

"The incidence of adverse events reported to Roche represents only a small percentage of the more than 25 million people that have successfully used Lariam," said Roche spokesman Terence Hurley.

He cited figures from the World Health Organization that put the incidence of serious neuropsychiatric effects attributed to Lariam at 5 in 100,000.

Three of the four Fort Bragg soldiers who investigators say killed their wives this summer were Special Operations troops who had been deployed to Afghanistan, where the risk of malaria is high.

Army officials would not say if the men had taken Lariam, also known as mefloquine.

Two of the soldiers killed themselves after killing their wives.

If the Army's Office of the Surgeon General decides to send an epidemiological team, it would visit Fort Bragg within the next few weeks, said Elaine Kanellis, an Army spokeswoman at the Pentagon.

She would not say who would be part of an epidemiological team, or what other behavioral and physical aspects a team might investigate.

While the investigation would include a look at Lariam, Kanellis said, "there's no reason to believe right now that Larium affected the behavior of the individuals involved."

The Army's Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg referred questions to Kanellis.

Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease caused by a parasite that infects humans through mosquito bites.

The World Health Organization estimates that perhaps as many as 500 million cases of malaria occur each year and more than 1 million people die of the disease worldwide.

While other anti-malarial drugs are available, Lariam is the medication of choice for soldiers because it is taken once a week instead of daily.

Out of millions of travelers given mefloquine each year, between 1 in 6,000 and 1 in about 10,000 have some kind of serious adverse reaction, the WHO said.

The most commonly reported minor side effects include nausea, dizziness, difficulty sleeping and vivid dreams.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against taking mefloquine if a traveler has had epilepsy or a history of severe mental illness or other psychiatric disorders.

All anti-malarial drugs carry some potential side effect. Doxycycline, another drug used by the Army, may promote sunburn or cause vaginal yeast infections in women.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Special Reports - Larium; Peace Corps - Safety and Security



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