A large proportion of veterans afflicted by mefloquine toxicosis have unfortunately been misdiagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although the symptoms of mefloquine toxicosis can be similar to PTSD, careful examination by health professionals should result in proper diagnosis and healthcare. PTSD misdiagnosis is potentially dangerous given that mefloquine toxicosis is in fact an acquired brain injury which may be exacerbated by medications or other commonly used PTSD treatments.
Despite the fact that there is now published research written specifically to assist health professionals in differential diagnosis between mefloquine toxicosis and PTSD, many veterans continue to experience mistreatment. Some of them are now resorting to the courts. Among them is British veteran Daniel Swain, who is now taking legal action against the Ministry of Defence and was recently interviewed by his local newspaper.
Among those taking legal action is Drum Major Sergeant Daniel Swain, who took Lariam in 2010 when stationed in Cyprus.
Daniel was then deployed to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan where he ran a sustained fire range but suffered an incident where he felt that he was having an out of body experience while training troops.
Daniel, 36, said: “I was taking Lariam consistently for a few months but the incident in Afghanistan really shocked and scared me.
“It was a really strange experience and I basically lost three days of my life where it was like an out of body experience and everything I did was like watching myself in a dream.
“I visited the doctor and saw psychiatrists but I didn’t feel like they were taking me seriously and just put everything down to PTSD.”
Doctors and psychiatrists attributed his mental health issues to stress in dealing with his father’s suicide, however Daniel was sceptical of this diagnosis as they were not particularly close and had never lived together. read more
Staff Reporter, Ex-soldier from Ely among group taking legal action against MoD over use of anti-malaria drug Lariam, Ely News, 12 May 2016.
R. L. Nevin, Mefloquine and post-traumatic stress disorder, in Elspeth C. Ritchie (ed.), Forensic and Ethical Issues in Military Behavioural Health, Borden Institute, Surgeon General U.S. Army, Falls Church, 2014.