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How to use Mefloquine HCL

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking mefloquine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Carry the information wallet card with you at all times.

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. Take it with food or milk to prevent stomach upset. Do not take the medication on an empty stomach. Take each dose of this medication with a full glass (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) of water. If you have trouble swallowing the medication, the tablet may be crushed and placed in a small amount of water, milk, or other beverage.

For children, the dosage is based on their weight. Early vomiting may occur in children after taking mefloquine. If vomiting occurs in your child after taking this medication, call the doctor right away to see if your child needs to take another dose of the medication. If vomiting continues, check with your doctor for a different medication to use in place of mefloquine.

When using this medication to prevent malaria, it is usually taken once a week. The first dose of this medication should be taken one week before travel, or as directed by your doctor.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Mefloquine is used to treat malaria (a serious infection that is spread by mosquitoes in certain parts of the world and can cause death) and to prevent malaria in travelers who visit areas where malaria is common. Mefloquine is in a class of medications called antimalarials. It works by killing the organisms that cause malaria.

Dosing Considerations

If a full-treatment course does not lead to improvement within 48-72 hr, mefloquine should not be used for retreatment; an alternative therapy should be used

Similarly, if previous prophylaxis with mefloquine failed, mefloquine should not be used for curative treatment

Insufficient clinical data exist to document the effect of mefloquine in malaria caused by P. ovale or P. malariae

Patients with acute P. vivax malaria, treated with mefloquine, are at high risk of relapse because mefloquine does not eliminate exoerythrocytic (hepatic phase) parasites; to avoid relapse, after initial treatment of the acute infection with mefloquine, patients should subsequently be treated with an 8-aminoquinoline derivative (eg, primaquine)

How should this medicine be used?

Mefloquine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. Always take mefloquine with food (preferably your main meal) and at least 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of water. If you are taking mefloquine to prevent malaria, you will probably take it once a week (on the same day each week). You will begin treatment 1 to 3 weeks before you travel to an area where malaria is common and should continue treatment for 4 weeks after you return from the area. If you are taking mefloquine to treat malaria, your doctor will tell you exactly how often you should take it. Children may take smaller but more frequent doses of mefloquine. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take mefloquine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Mefloquine Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

  • stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • dizziness;
  • muscle pain;
  • fever, chills; or
  • mild skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.