Caustic Commentary, Causes of Violence

The malaria drug Lariam (mefloquine) is linked to grisly crimes like that of Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, who murdered sixteen Afghan civilians in 2012; and the murder of four wives of Fort Bragg soldiers in 2002. The FDA has beefed up warnings about the drug’s neurotoxic effects and users are now given a medication guide and wallet card, but the drug and its generic versions are still the third most prescribed malaria medication in the U.S., with over two hundred thousand prescriptions annually. A recent paper admitted that Lariam may be behind “seemingly spectacular and impulsive suicides.” It produces “derealization and depersonalization, compulsions toward dangerous objects, and morbid curiosity about death” (, April 8, 2014). Drugs like these coupled with the recommended lowfat, high-carbohydrate diet make a recipe for violent behavior. A recent study from Denmark found that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet limited fear and aggression in test animals (PLos ONE 9(4), April 16, 2014).

One Response to Caustic Commentary, Causes of Violence

  1. Nancy says:

    Mefloquine-induced violence and hallucinations are well-known, so I am surprised that the military is giving mefloquine to the troops. I recently retired after serving 25 years in the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer. When assigned to an embassy in a country where malaria was prevalent, there was always discussion on whether the officer (and his/her family members) would be taking chloroquine (the traditional malarial prophylaxis) or mefloquine (the prophylaxis of choice in regions where malaria was chloroquine-resistant). After a couple of unsettling instances (in relating the story, a friend of mine asked, “Do you know how hard it is to get a Special Forces guy on the plane when he thinks you are trying to kill him?”), the State Department barred employees who carried weapons (the Marines and the Regional Security Officers) from taking mefloquine. This was several years ago.

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