Associate Dean Andy Stergachis was appointed to a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a study sponsored by the Veterans Administration, to assess the long-term health effects of antimalarial drugs used by adults, in particular mefloquine, for the prophylaxis of malaria.
The National Academies was charged with studying the long-term health effects that may result from use of medications used to prevent malaria. Long term and repeat deployments to countries with endemic malaria, like Afghanistan, have meant service members may take antimalarials for extended periods of time. There has been a concern that this long-term preventative use of antimalarials, in particular mefloquine, may result in health problems for military personnel. The committee will look at the effects on organ systems, especially neurologic and mental health outcomes, including the potential development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Additionally, the committee will consider approaches for identifying short-term, long-term, and persistent adverse health effects of antimalarials. The committee will develop findings and conclusions based on its review of the evidence.