Margaret O'Sullivan 0

Action Lariam for Irish Soldiers

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Action Lariam for Irish Soldiers is calling for immediate and direct action to be taken by the Irish government to address the suffering caused to members of the defence forces and their loved ones by this deadly anti-malaria drug.

The fact remains that there are other, safer drugs available and yet the Minister of Defence has not implemented these changes. This is despite the fact that in the late ‘90’s the manufacturer Hoffman la Roche looked to have it removed from the market and again in 2007 the Chairman of Hoffman La Roche again said they were moving away from Lariam because there were other more effective drugs on the market with less harmful side effects.

In 2006 studies on rats showed that a single dose of Lariam caused impairment of motor function, induced brain stem injury, permanent damage to the central nervous system and degeneration of brain stem nuclei.

Almost half of those administered the drug in review studies have reported moderate to severe psychological & neurological symptoms, severe psychological symptoms are depression, psychosis, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia including many other physical symptoms like seizure disorders which cause great pain to those who suffer along with their families. The most severe effect being suicide. To date 24 suicides in Irish Defence Forces with 12 linked directly to Lariam.

Tellingly, the US who first developed the drug has since chosen to discontinue it as the first drug of choice as have a number of other countries because of their findings The Irish government is choosing to ignore the incredibly high risk factor and the damage of this drug, which has been recognised internationally as causing severe and life-threatening side-effects in almost half of those exposed. In fact, one of the only “experts” who declared the drug safe for use by the Irish Defence forces had their research funded by the company that makes Lariam.

The Irish Government failed to listen to world's leading expert. Dr Remington Nevin ex-Major of the US Army, and a consultant in Anti-Malaria Toxicity. Dr Nevin was funded $264,000 by US Congress to research Mefloquine (Lariam) To this day he is of the belief that Lariam is not a drug of choice, and the US Military has listened to him.

We are calling on the government and the Minister for Defence to

1) Withdraw Lariam for use within the Irish army

2) Provide proper care to those effected and their families

3) Simply acknowledge and apologise for the role it has played in these traumatic events.

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