Meloquine Use and Hospitalizations Among US Service Members, 2002-2004
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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The safety of mefloquine, a common antimalarial drug sold under the trade name Lariam, has not been well described in military populations. To use readily available electronic data to determine mefloquine prescriptions and disease outcomes, as measured by hospitalization, to study mefloquine safety among US service members from 2002 through 2004. Using an electronic pharmaceutical database, 8858 mefloquine-prescribed and deployed personnel were identified and compared with 2 reference groups. The reference groups comprised US service members who were not prescribed mefloquine and resided in Europe or Japan n 156 203 or had been otherwise deployed n 232 381 during the study period. Hospitalizations and diagnoses were assessed from standard military databases, and differences in these outcomes were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards modeling. Broad illness and injury categories, as well as specific mental health groupings identified through Department of Defense hospitalization data. In comparison with active-duty US service members residing in Europe or Japan, US service members were at a statistically significant decreased hazard for any-cause hospitalization, as well as to diseases of the respiratory and digestive systems, musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases, injuries and poisonings, ill-defined conditions, and mood disorders. These results suggest there is no association between mefloquine prescriptions and severe health effects, as measured by hospitalizations, across a wide range of outcomes.
- Medicine and Medical Research