CDC Encouraged to Recommend Against Use of Tafenoquine During Military Deployments
As described in this press release, The Quinism Foundation has sent correspondence to Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calling on the CDC to emphasize important safety warnings in the approved U.S. drug label for tafenoquine marketed for the prevention of malaria, which advises patients to be ‘promptly evaluated by a medical professional’ should psychiatric symptoms such as insomnia, abnormal dreams, anxiety, or changes in mood be severe, or continue for 3 days or longer while taking the drug. In its correspondence, Dr. Nevin noted the foundation’s concerns that unless these warnings are properly emphasized in CDC’s recommendations, that these may be overlooked by prescribers, including those in the military, as similar warnings for use of mefloquine were overlooked years earlier. Particularly in light of the serious problems with past military use of mefloquine, the foundation also encouraged CDC to recommend against military use of tafenoquine during deployments.
“Psychiatric side effects of tafenoquine, including changes in mood, anxiety, abnormal dreams or nightmares, may risk being misattributed to the effects of certain forms of travel, including military deployments and travel for humanitarian emergencies and disaster response,” said Dr. Nevin. “Tafenoquine should therefore not be prescribed prior to such travel, as this may confound recognition of such side effects. We also recommend that tafenoquine should not be prescribed prior to sleep-disrupting travel across time zones, to which insomnia as a side effect of tafenoquine may be misattributed. In addition, tafenoquine should not be prescribed with hypnotics or other sleep-aids, which may confound recognition of insomnia as a side effect.”
“If tafenoquine is prescribed, we recommend that prescribers schedule a visit with the patient prior to travel, to assess for the development of psychiatric symptoms following administration of the tafenoquine loading dose. Access to healthcare, as recommended in the FDA-approved U.S. tafenoquine drug label, may be limited once travel begins,” said Dr. Nevin.
As recently reported, the U.S. Department of Defense is considering use of tafenoquine. The Quinism Foundation will be monitoring developments related to the military’s planned use of this drug closely, and will be working to raise awareness of important tafenoquine safety issues with members of Congress, the media, and with military leaders in the coming months.
The 2018 Annual Canadian Educational Meeting is Less than Three Weeks Away! Make Plans Now to Attend!
Plan to join us in Kanata, Ontario, just outside the nation’s capital, on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 from 1pm to 5pm, for an educational meeting focused on the concerns of Canadian mefloquine veterans and Canadian healthcare providers caring for these veterans.
Due to greater-than-anticipated demand, the location of the meeting has been moved from our designated hotel, the Comfort Inn Ottawa West, to the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command, located just a short walk away. Veterans, their families, and healthcare providers are all encouraged to attend. The meeting will provide an update on the status of current VAC claims related to mefloquine poisoning, and factors to consider when filing a VAC claim, including those conditions that can be linked to mefloquine exposure. The meeting will also discuss how clinicians and veterans can improve documentation supporting their claim, and will also discuss use of the foundation’s WRMI-2 screening instrument for symptomatic mefloquine exposure. Lastly, the meeting will discuss recent legal developments of interest to Canadian veterans.
Our annual Canadian educational meeting is scheduled to coincide with the annual Canadian mefloquine awareness event on the front steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 1 p.m., hosted by advisory committee member Marj Matchee. Echoing calls from Canadian veterans from last’s year’s event, Canadian veterans will be calling on the Canadian government to acknowledge chronic disability from mefloquine poisoning, and to support outreach and research. The Quinism Foundation has previously called upon the Canadian government to reopen the Somalia Commission of Inquiry to investigate the role of mefloquine in the events of that era, as described more fully in this press release, and will be making additional calls in the days leading up to the rally. Stay tuned to learn more!
If you would like more information about the rally, please contact Marj Matchee directly. To secure attendance at the educational meeting itself, please be sure to reserve your space by confirming your attendance with The Quinism Foundation. Attendance is free, but will be limited to those who have reserved space, so please make your plans now!
We thank the Royal Canadian Legion for their exceptional generosity and hospitality in providing meeting space, and for their continued support of calls for further research into mefloquine poisoning.
The Quinism Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that receives no government or pharmaceutical industry support. The foundation relies entirely on private charitable donations to fund its operations, including its educational meetings, research activities, press releases, and publications. If you have not yet made a charitable donation to support a charity that you believe in, please consider making one today. The foundation is proud to be listed as a registered charity in the PayPal Giving Fund, and Network for Good’s donor-advised fund. You can also create a Facebook fundraiser to encourage your friends to support your selected charity. As well, when you shop AmazonSmile using this link, Amazon will donate 0.5% the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to The Quinism Foundation. The foundation is proud to have earned a bronze seal of transparency from on Guidestar. You can also learn more about the foundation from its corporate listing with the Vermont Secretary of State.
Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the News
The Irish Times has published a gripping article, accompanied by a 10-minute video, describing the plight of Irish mefloquine veterans, including Mark O’Sullivan, who have struggled from the toll of suicidality and disability from the Irish military’s policy of mandatory mefloquine use, and their attempts to pursue legal action against the state for damages. Last year, Irish veteran Anthony Cole became the first Irish mefloquine veteran to successfully settle a suit brought against the state for damages. Since then, dozens more veterans have come forward.
The foundation’s executive director, Dr. Remington Nevin, was featured in several articles at the Fight Malaria blog, including a post discussing use of tafenoquine for the prevention of malaria, and a five-minute audio interview on tafenoquine. The Quinism Foundation thanks the Fight Malaria blog for its balanced coverage of issues related to mefloquine and tafenoquine, and for the opportunity to have its important drug safety messages heard by their audience.