Effectiveness and tolerance of long-term malaria prophylaxis with mefloquine. Need for a better dosing regimen

JAMA. 1991 Jan 16;265(3):361-4.


To measure the effectiveness and tolerance of long-term malaria prophylaxis with mefloquine, the incidence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and of adverse reactions was compared in Peace Corps volunteers in West Africa who took mefloquine every 2 weeks and in volunteers who took chloroquine phosphate weekly. Mefloquine was only 63% more effective than chloroquine; the monthly incidence of P falciparum infections was one case per 100 volunteers who took mefloquine and 2.7 cases per 100 volunteers who took chloroquine. Using daily proguanil (chloroguanide) hydrochloride in addition to chloroquine did not provide additional protection. All mefloquine prophylaxis failures occurred during the second week of the every-2-weeks dosing regimen in volunteers who had used mefloquine for more than 2 months. Blood concentrations of mefloquine were lower during the second week of the alternate-week regimen than during the first week, suggesting that blood levels are too low during the second week to suppress parasitemia. No serious adverse reactions were observed. The results indicate that a dosing regimen of 250 mg of mefloquine weekly should be considered for travelers to areas with chloroquine-resistant P falciparum malaria.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa, Western
  • Animals
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Mefloquine / administration & dosage
  • Mefloquine / adverse effects
  • Mefloquine / blood
  • Mefloquine / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Plasmodium falciparum*
  • Volunteers


  • Mefloquine