Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lariam the anti-malaria drug whose side effects are homicide, suicide, psychosis also among US soldiers

I just found this article at "The Guardian" about Lariam a anti-malaria drug. According to Wikipedia it can causes sever and permanent adverse side-effects: severe depression, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, nightmares, insomnia, seizures, birth defects, peripheral motor-sensory, suicidal ideation...

The article at The Guardian by Mark Honigsbaum tells the story of:
"On Friday August 23 - a week after the discovery of the bodies of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Suffolk - police on the other side of the country received a call that a 22-year-old student had gone missing from her home in Sketty, a suburb of Swansea. Unfortunately, by the time South Wales police located Vanessa Brunt, lying unconscious in undergrowth a few yards from her home, it was too late. Depressed by a two-year battle with mental illness that had forced her to abandon her law studies at Cambridge, she had apparently taken an overdose of pills and died in hospital a few hours later.

If that was all there was to Brunt's short life and tragic death it would not warrant further comment, being simply a footnote to a summer of parental anguish. But drugs campaigners and doctors argue that, unlike Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, Brunt's death might have been avoided. Indeed, they claim that if Hoffmann-LaRoche had taken their concerns about the severe psychiatric side effects associated with its anti-malaria medication, Lariam, more seriously seven years ago, Brunt mightnow be enjoying a brilliant career at Cambridge. According to Vanessa's parents, it was their daughter's experience with Lariam during her gap year abroad in south-east Asia in 1999 that started her on a downward spiral."

It's a very good article that approaches many aspects of Lariam scandal:

"Now there is growing suspicion that psychiatric reactions to the drug may lie behind a series of killings at a US army base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In a three-week period this summer, four soldiers recently returned from tours of duty in Afghanistan allegedly murdered their wives then, in two cases, turned their guns on themselves. Although US army epidemiologists say they are perplexed by the killings, drug campaigners point out that three of the soldiers had been taking Lariam and had reportedly experienced dramatic mood changes that coincided with the administration of the weekly anti-malaria pill. In the case of Master Sergeant William Wright, a special operations officer who had been taking Lariam on and off for 10 years, family and friends noticed that after his return from Afghanistan he became prone to sudden rages and silences. Wright, who was jailed in July on suspicion of murdering his wife, is now said to be in a psychotic state."

It's worthy reading the whole article.
I will never understand why US treat their soldiers this way. I'm sorry I have to say this:
There are two days to remember those who have died.
What about those who are at battlefield? What about those who return alive to US and are mistreated over again?


Laura said...

This is shocking. Is there anything safe to take?

Ana said...

I guess not even water.