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Supports needed for Defence Forces personnel suffering side-effects from anti-malaria drug – Mitchell

28 June, 2017 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay North Denise Mitchell has called on the Government to ensure proper support and counselling services are made available to serving and retired Defence Forces personnel who are suffering side-effects of the anti-malarial drug Lariam.

Speaking on the passed Sinn Féin motion to replace Lariam as the drug of first-resort for military personnel, Deputy Mitchell told the Dáil:

“Lariam affects the limbic system, the part of the brain which controls a person’s emotions and behaviour.

“The side-effects range from very common symptoms such as insomnia; to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, aggression, hallucinations, paranoid-psychosis and suicidal-ideation.

“There are a number of safer alternatives to Lariam, so it beggars belief that this drug should remain the anti-malaria drug of choice for our Defence Forces personnel,” she said.

 “The removal of this drug from the general market, coupled with its downgrading to a last-resort drug in other militaries, should have set off alarm bells to the Minister and the Defence Forces,” she said.

The Sinn Féin TD also called for proper support for those suffering side-effects:

 “The state has a duty of care to all of its citizens. I hope, that on top of this motion, the Government will ensure that all serving and retired Defence Forces personnel who have been given Lariam will be provided with proper supports and counselling services to aid their recovery from the side-effects.”

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