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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lariam Dreams

Lariam, also know as mefloquine, is an anti-malarial medication. It is effective for prophylaxis and treatment of many types of malaria that are resistant to older drugs like chloroquine (a derivative of quinine, which is also found in the tonic portion of a gin and tonic). It has gotten a bad rap in the lay press, unfortunately.

In some users, lariam can precipitate a psychosis. It is a very unusual side effect, and generally reverses with discontinuation of the drug. Many other anti-malarial drugs, including chloroquine, have the same risk, but only in Lariam's case has it gotten publicized to a large degree. While this side effect is not a good thing, the risk of not taking prophylaxis is even greater––malaria is a serious disease, and, in individuals who've never had it before, can cause very serious complications including seizures and death. And all it takes is one mosquito bite.....

That being said, one of the other side effects of lariam, and chloroquine (they're in the same family of drugs), is vivid dreams. Not scary dreams or nightmares, but very vivd dreams. I remember the Peace Corps volunteers I met talking about their chloroquine dreams and, after years of intermittent lariam use, I understand.

The dreams are memorable, unlike my usual dreams, which are forgotten right after waking, And they are original. Most of my dreams, in daily life, seem to be reruns, like watching a favorite episode of M*A*S*H over and over again. Not so my lariam dreams. I find myself in strange situations, in new places. It's like reading a good, but a bit strange, book for the first time.

I've also had the opportunity to see my old relatives again. Like the little boy in the Sixth Sense, I see dead people (but only in my dreams). My aunt, my grandparents, other people who've been gone for years, have risen from the recesses of my memory to be with me again. Perhaps it is because of all the old photos I looked through in January and February, while putting together a photo show for my parents. Still, it was nice to see them all again, and talk to them.

Perhaps I'll see them again tonight, or perhaps I'll visit someplace I've never been before. Whatever it is, it will be interesting.


At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it


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