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Mefloquine at the crossroads? Implications for malaria chemoprophylaxis in Europe


Abstract

Since its introduction to the market in 1985, mefloquine has been used for malaria chemoprophylaxis by more than 35 million travellers. In Europe, in 2014, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued recommendations on strengthened warnings, prescribing checklists and updates to the product information of mefloquine. Some malaria prevention advisors question the scientific basis for the restrictions and suggest that this cost-effective, anti-malarial drug will be displaced as a first-line anti-malaria medication with the result that vulnerable groups such as VFR and long-term travellers, pregnant travellers and young children are left without a suitable alternative chemoprophylaxis. This commentary looks at the current position of mefloquine prescribing and the rationale of the new EMA recommendations and restrictions. It also describes the new recommendations for malaria prophylaxis that have been adapted by Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy where chemoprophylaxis use is restricted to high-risk malaria-endemic areas.

Abstract

Since its introduction to the market in 1985, mefloquine has been used for malaria chemoprophylaxis by more than 35 million travellers. In Europe, in 2014, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued recommendations on strengthened warnings, prescribing checklists and updates to the product information of mefloquine. Some malaria prevention advisors question the scientific basis for the restrictions and suggest that this cost-effective, anti-malarial drug will be displaced as a first-line anti-malaria medication with the result that vulnerable groups such as VFR and long-term travellers, pregnant travellers and young children are left without a suitable alternative chemoprophylaxis. This commentary looks at the current position of mefloquine prescribing and the rationale of the new EMA recommendations and restrictions. It also describes the new recommendations for malaria prophylaxis that have been adapted by Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy where chemoprophylaxis use is restricted to high-risk malaria-endemic areas.

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2 citations in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:29 Dec 2015 09:39
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:47
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1477-8939
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmaid.2015.03.010
PubMed ID:25825015

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