Lariam timeline: From approval to psychosis warnings

Hundreds of British soldiers are suffering from mental illness after being given the drug

Wednesday 15 April 2015 22:18 BST
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17,000 service personnel have been given Lariam over the last seven years
17,000 service personnel have been given Lariam over the last seven years

1970s - Developed by the US army

1989 - Approved for use in the UK and US

1996 - UK Committee on Safety of Medicines advises doctors to warn patients about the neuropsychiatric risks of taking the drug

2001 - First randomised, controlled trial of the drug in a mixed population of general travellers reveals that more than two-thirds reported side effects, and in six per cent of cases they were severe

2002 - A US Food and Drug Administration safety alert warns of reactions including depression, paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety, convulsions and psychotic behaviour

2007 - The former Roche chairman Dr Franz B Humer tells the company AGM that “more effective antimalarials with better side-effect profiles were now available, and these were generally used”.

The Independent from 27 September 2013
The Independent from 27 September 2013

2013 - The Independent reveals how the MoD continues to use Lariam, during a year in which the US army declares it a drug of last resort which is banned by its special forces, and the US FDA issues a “black box” warning over its psychiatric side-effects. In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency strengthens warnings on side-effects.

2014 - European Medicines Agency warns of the “predominance of neuropsychiatric adverse reactions” and Public Health England releases similar guidance and says Lariam “may increase risk of psychosis and anxiety reactions.”

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