This week marks the 25th anniversary of the UN military operation, “Restore Hope” in Somalia. During that time, in 1992-1993 many US members of the armed forces were given an anti-malaria drug called Mefloquine. In the decades since, it was discovered that there were severe side effects that mimic PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury.
The drug was in extensive use between 1989 when the FDA approved it until 2001 when more studies on its side effects occurred. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (JAAPL), the drugs side effects were at least one-hundred times more prevalent than previously reported.
Every service member was required to take the medication before deploying, and while deployed. The drug, marketed as a preventative measure against malaria. Speaking with Paul Trione, a veteran who is in a Facebook group for those exposed to Mefloquine and experiencing symptoms of toxicity.
When asked about his experiences with the Veterans Administration (VA), in trying to get diagnosed with Mefloquine Toxicity, Paul said the VA “has not approved many claims for Mefloquine Toxicity, but that is changing now.” Paul went on to discuss how he has been seen at several VA facilities and undergone various kinds of examinations, trying to have his issues diagnosed. The group is very active, all working toward a better understanding of the drugs side effects, and also a forum for supporting one another through sharing information and finding others nearby.
I can report that the VA has just awarded a 100% rating for mefloquine-related conditions where exposure was established by lay evidence.
— Dr. Remington Nevin (@RemingtonNevin) October 28, 2017
With the recent announcement of a veteran winning his case and diagnosed with Mefloquine Toxicity, in Oct. 2017, things might be changing for the better for veterans.
I urge all veterans to check if they took the drug, and if so, and have any of the side effects reported, see a doctor and begin the process of being diagnosed.