Mefloquine is an antimalarial drug that has long been known to cause severe neuropsychological adverse effects such as anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, aggression, psychotic behavior, mood changes, depression, memory impairment, convulsions, loss of coordination (ataxia), suicidal ideation, and possibly suicide, particularly in patients with a history of mental illness. A prescribing physician must exercise caution and informed judgment when weighing the risks and potential benefits of prescribing the drug.
To administer this drug with its severe potential side effects without a malaria diagnosis and without taking a patient’s mental health history is not medically justified. Yet as a matter of official policy, the standard operating procedure implemented by the United States military at Guantanamo Bay was to administer high doses of mefloquine to detainees whether or not any use of the drug was medically appropriate and without consideration of the detainees’ mental health.
•Mefloquine was first developed by the United States military.
•Mefloquine is a quinolone, a drug family the CIA experimented with under a project called MKULTRA that studied psychotropic drugs for behavioral modification for use as a weapon and interrogation tool.