Everyone uses it. It must be all right.
March 28, 2004 7:42 AM   Subscribe

A dose of denial. Cold remedies with PPA caused strokes; drug companies kept them on store shelves for years. Similar to Lariam, which may be causing the suicide of many U.S. troops in Iraq.
posted by xowie (8 comments total)
I thought the real reason PPA containing remedies were pulled from the shelf is that shortly before their withdrawal, bathroom chemists discovered a simple pathway to turn it into Fentanyl.
posted by bunnytricks at 7:58 AM on March 28, 2004

the LAT story is less an indictment of PPA-laced products than a heartbreaking reminder of the nightmarish impact of strokes on patients' (and their families) lives. good story.

personal experience with Lariam: I didn't know anything about Lariam's bad reputation when I first took it before a long trip to sub-saharan Africa, so I can't possibly consider the problems it caused me as some kind of reverse-placebo effect. I didn't know about its side effects. But Lariam gave me, for several weeks after I took it, strange paranoid episodes, a constant sense of uneasiness (and I am usually very comfortable in my own skin, probably a byproduct of arrogance, I don't know, but I usually am), and I felt constantly uncomfortable and anxious for irrational reasons.

no visions or suicidal thoughts, btw, thank God, but if I need to come back to malaria regions I'll think twice before taking Lariam. I don't want to go there without protection (malaria is a real killer, don't want my liver to blow up because of mosquitoes, I'll let alcohol do that job, thank you very much), but if there are alternatives to Lariam (equally reliable against malaria), hey, I'm ready to seriously check them out
posted by matteo at 8:15 AM on March 28, 2004

Matteo: there is a supposed cure for malaria that involves taking a combination of Fansidar & Cotexcin. If you're in SE Asia (where mefloquine is essentially useless), it's better to just run the risk of malaria and cure it if you get it.

...Fansidar is a little hard to find, but Cotexcin is easy to come by (at least in Cambodia). Last time I checked you can't buy Cotexcin in the US, so you'd need to buy it once you arrive. It's cheap -- I recently spent a lot of time in malarial regions and didn't bother with the mefloquine.

Note: just to clarify, you only take Fansidar+Cotexcin AFTER you already have malaria. Not before. The exact dosage is floating around on various backpacking sites, but basically it's a megadose of Fansidar, followed by a week of Cotexcin. (I'm not a doctor, this isn't medical advice, etc. etc.)
posted by aramaic at 8:47 AM on March 28, 2004

...and mefloquine is a freaking nightmare. I used it for a few years with ZERO ill-effects, and then one time *poof* I lose it completely. Forty minutes after taking the pill I black out and wake up the next day having no memory of what I'd done (which, fortunately, seems to have been nothing more than make hyper-long-distance phone calls).

It's a very unpredictable drug -- you can have no problems, and then suddenly have big problems, with no real warning.
posted by aramaic at 8:51 AM on March 28, 2004

spare a few hits?
posted by quonsar at 11:06 AM on March 28, 2004

I've only recently started to need to take anti-malarials, in that 4 months I've yet to hear anyone say that Larium is anything less than a nightmare to be on and that it shouldn't be avoided at all costs.
posted by biffa at 12:24 PM on March 28, 2004

Avoid Lariam at all costs. I spent a month in a foreign country falling into random, dizzy, disassociating fits and had the joy of flashbacks as late as six months later. It was not fun. Not fun at all.
posted by VulcanMike at 7:16 PM on March 28, 2004

Big drug Co's keeping all the side effect details under wraps? Naaa. Just ask Baycol, Redux & Phen-Fen users. They'd never do that. They have your best interest at heart, really. Money is meaningless to them.
posted by Nauip at 5:10 PM on March 31, 2004

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