National Academies to Study Mefloquine
The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has announced a new 18-month study of the long-term effects of antimalarial drugs, including mefloquine, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Dr. Nevin, executive director of The Quinism Foundation, has been invited to present evidence to the opening meeting of the study committee, scheduled for January 28, 2019, from 1 pm to 5 pm at the Academies’ headquarters in Washington, DC.
Attendance is open to the public, and veterans are encouraged to attend if able. If you are able to attend this event, either in-person or via live webcast, please ensure you register in advance.
Although the foundation is generally pleased with the proposed composition of the study committee, the foundation has expressed reservations at the limited scope of the study, which appears restricted to a review of the published literature, rather than a more thorough examination of patient-level data. We intend to share these concerns with the committee and our disappointment that the VA continues to neglect calls to screen veterans for a history of symptomatic exposure to mefloquine and to update its website to correct misleading, incomplete, and inaccurate information related to the drug.
The Quinism Foundation relies entirely on private support to fund these efforts. To show your support for our work, please consider creating a Facebook fundraiser, and encourage your friends and family to support this cause. The foundation is proud to be listed as a registered charity in the PayPal Giving Fund, on Amazon Smile, and in the Network for Good’s donor-advised fund. You can read more about the foundation’s charitable activities by reviewing our listing on Guidestar. We thank you for your support!
VA Rejects Call to Screen Veterans for Mefloquine Exposure
The Quinism Foundation has received a response from the VA to our correspondence calling on the department to screen U.S. veterans for symptomatic exposure to mefloquine during disability examinations, which is essential for ensuring that symptoms of quinism are not misattributed to PTSD or other neuropsychiatric conditions.
“Screening for such symptomatic exposure during a medical disability examination can be as quick and simple as asking the veteran ‘Did you take mefloquine’, and if so, ‘While you were taking the drug, did you experience one or more of these symptoms?’,” wrote executive director Dr. Nevin. “If the veteran reports symptomatic exposure, examiners should retain an index of suspicion that any chronic neurologic or psychiatric symptoms, including those reported, could represent effects of mefloquine poisoning, specifically, symptoms of a medical condition also known as chronic quinoline encephalopathy or neuropsychiatric quinism.”
The Quinism Foundation is disappointed in this response. In our correspondence, we noted we have recently begun partnering with several health care organizations, including in the U.K. and Canada, to make available our two-question White River Mefloquine Instrument (WRMI-2), to facilitate screening for symptomatic mefloquine exposure in other veteran populations. We also noted we have called upon Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), to similarly screen all recent Canadian veterans for a history of symptomatic mefloquine exposure.
2019 Annual Meeting
Springtime will be here in only a few months, so please ensure that you make plans now to attend our second Annual Meeting, to be held Monday, April 29 through Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in the Vermont Room of the historic Hotel Coolidge in beautiful and historic downtown White River Junction, Vermont.
Our meeting will feature a variety of educational sessions, including the annual Sue Rose Memorial Lecture, a panel discussion on distinguishing symptoms of PTSD from those of mefloquine poisoning, and various question-and-answer sessions.
This is your best opportunity to meet with others affected by quinism and learn about the condition from experts in the field. A full agenda will be released soon, but in the meantime, you can register now to reserve your space at the meeting or visit our meeting page to show your support for our meeting directly. Thank you for your support of this effort!