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BRITISH MILITARY CHIEFS DEMAND LARIAM REVIEW

By JONATHAN OWEN
294 words
8 October 2013
The Independent
IND
1ST
26,27
English
© 2013. Independent Print Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Some of Britain's most respected military commanders are calling on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to
review its continued use of an antimalarial drug recently banned by the US Army due to its dangerous
side-effects.

Veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are among those falling into line behind Lord General
Richard Dannatt, who has called on the MoD to "follow the US example and no longer prescribe
Lariam. The risks are too high".

Mefloquine, a drug branded as Lariam, can cause suicidal thoughts, psychosis, and other serious
psychiatric problems. The US Army ended its use of the drug last month.

Major General Patrick Cordingley DSO, commander of the desert rats in the first Gulf War, said:
"Having been prescribed Lariam once in my career, I know from first-hand that it is a terrifying drug. I
was not myself for several days. It was a truly unpleasant experience. The MoD should stop giving it to
soldiers."

And Lord Guthrie OBE, former Chief of Defence Staff, said there is "cause for great concern about the
use of Lariam by the Army" and the matter "needs to be urgently addressed by the authorities".

The Army has a responsibility to protect soldiers against diseases like malaria, but "they also have a
responsibility to proscribe drugs that have the least-adverse side-effects", said Colonel Richard Kemp
CBE, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan.

The MoD has no plans to stop using Lariam, described by Air Marshal Paul Evans, the MoD's Surgeon
General, as "one of a number of effective antimalarials that we use". He said: "The MoD will continue
to follow the best advice as provided by Public Health England."

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