Lariam case study: 'He is now in a secure unit'

Relatives and former military chiefs are demanding action to stop the ‘epidemic’ spreading further

Jonathan Owen
Wednesday 15 April 2015 21:26 BST
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Lt-Col Alastair Duncan, who commanded British forces in Bosnia, is currently in a secure psychiatric unit
Lt-Col Alastair Duncan, who commanded British forces in Bosnia, is currently in a secure psychiatric unit (David Brauchli/Sygma/Corbis)

Major General Alastair Duncan DSO CBE, former commander of British forces in Bosnia and former Chief of Staff, the UN Mission to Sierra Leone, is currently in a psychiatric unit.

His wife Ellen said: In 2000, prior to his deployment to Sierra Leone, he had an adverse reaction to mefloquine noted in his records but for some reason its use was continued for a prolonged period. Subsequently he was issued with dog tags warning against the use of Lariam. The issue was marked as URGENT so there is acknowledgement there was a problem.

“He is at present in a secure unit after a prolonged PTSD episode over Christmas/New Year. The same thing happened two years ago. As there is a complete denial of the damage done by mefloquine it has so far been impossible to get any recognition by the NHS of the part it plays in his condition.

He has been given the catch all diagnosis of Alzheimer but the fact he had improved cognitively over the last two years belies this... “There is a belief that because of changes in the brain due to mefloquine, certain medications are not advisable, yet these continue to be given and our concerns ignored.”

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