The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an announcement to pharmacists regarding a recent number of Mefloquine prescriptions that have incorrectly instructed patients to take the 250 mg dose daily rather than weekly. Mefloquine is prescribed to treat malaria prophylaxis for individuals traveling abroad.
The half life of the drug is three weeks and patients who take it once a day rather than once a week are quick to have adverse reactions. Of most concern are the psychiatric side effects that can include “anxiety, depression, paranoia, hallucinations, and psychotic behavior.”
Since most doctors rarely prescribe Mefloquine and pharmacists rarely fill the prescriptions errors are more difficult to catch. The correct dosage for adults is one 250 mg dose once a week beginning one week before travel and extending four weeks after return. The FDA is asking pharmacists to double check the instructions and be sure that patients understand the proper dosage because of the severity of the side effects. Any prescription that calls for frequency more than once a week should be confirmed with the prescribing physician.