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Weekly Wrap: Mefloquine, Madness, and the Military Massacre

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted Mefloquine

Some of you know that I wandered into the autism world through my reporting on an anti-malaria drug called Lariam that was causing some really hard-core symptoms, such as psychosis, suicide, and even aggressive behavior up to and including homicide. Quite an adverse-events roster, especially given that when I first started reporting on it back in 1999, it was the CDC's first-choice anti-malarial, and the agency said that reports of such side effects were overblown, unlikely -- even patently false.

Just "traveler's psychosis," sniffed the malaria surveillance officer at the CDC.

Meanwhile, elite soldiers coming back from Afghanistan committed murder-suicides, Peace Corps volunteers ended up in long-term psych wards, and random travelers came back from nice trips to Africa and blew their brains out. Association is not causation, the experts opined. "People with Internet mystique" who didn't know what they were talking about, the Army Surgeon General warned Congress about those sounding the alarm. (Sound familiar?)

But it was clearly happening. This denialism led me directly to another question: If the CDC, the FDA and the drug company could stand foursquare behind such a toxic substance, what about vaccines and autism -- a question first raised by my reporting partner at the time, Mark Benjamin, in a 2003 investigative report that I edited. Mark went on to do distinguished work on several other subjects. I got stuck on this question of whether vaccines and the autism epidemic were related -- which, I've concluded based on my own reporting, they were. And are.

But back to Lariam, known generically as mefloquine. Over the years, the CDC has dialed back on recommending it; the FDA has ratcheted up the warnings, which now do mention suicide and say that effects can last "long after" someone stops taking it (FDA speak for, "forever"); the manufacturer, Roche pharmaceuticals, has stopped selling it in the United States (along with its equally suicide-inducing anti-acne medicine, Accutane), and the Army no longer pushes it on every soldier it deploys to malarial hot zones, like Afghanistan.

But it's still an approved prescription drug, and it still is prescribed thousands of times a year, and the Army -- which invented it -- can't bear to actually ban its use, which, given the toxic brew of guns, PTSD, and violence into which it is introduced, is truly wild.

This long-running record of delay and denial has now run smack into its karmic brick wall, it appears -- a soldier who committed the worst atrocity (on our side) in the war on terror. Time mag reported this week  that Sgt. Robert Bales, who just pleaded guilty to slaughtering 17 Afghan civilians in 2012, including women and children, and set some of them on fire, may have been taking mefloquine. It's something a lot of us who know what this drug can do have been speculating about for quite some time. 

The Kill Pill: Murder, Madness, and the Army's Mefloquine Cover-up

Time cites a document filed with the drugmaker and forwarded to the FDA. While it's not clear who filed it, the reference to a homicide of 16 civilians (the first press accounts used that figure) could only be referring to Bales' rampage, and the use of the term "medically confirmed" suggests Roche was satisfied that Bales was taking it. As Time points out, the Army has yet to say whether he took it or not -- suspicious in itself -- and it is now past time for the military to come clean. Here's a portion of the report on file with the FDA: (Click photo to enlarge.)

Bales Lariam


The fact the military let Bales plead guilty and get a life term -- I mean, what is the death penalty FOR? -- suggests the Army might want the whole thing to blow over. So does the fact that the Army has put out lots of smoke, in the form of information that Bales was snorting Valium (didn't even know you could do that!), drinking contraband hooch and taking steroids.

Yeah, but if he was also taking mefloquine, that would explain a lot. And we are entitled to know it before Bales is sentenced.

By now, a drug that clearly causes homicide should have been yanked off the market, especially given the alternatives available. The only excuse for its use MIGHT be as a treatment, not a preventive, for deadly cerebral malaria. To have given it to hundreds of thousands of healthy soldiers, Peace Corps volunteers, and random civilians since 1989 who had no idea of the risk they were taking, even while the government and the drug company did know, is inexcusable.

Inexcusable but instructive. Mefloquine shows what we're really dealing with in a lot of areas -- a military, medical, and public health bureaucracy that, when it comes to weighing the costs and benefits of prescriptions drugs and other medical interventions, is immunized against basic human instincts like balance, transparency, honesty, and basic compassion.

For starters, you can bet that a significant portion of PTSD and suicide in the military is being driven not only by the stress of combat, or combat-related brain injuries, but by the "long after" horrors of this stupid drug. And you can bet that the enablers will avoid acknowledging it as long as possible.

The drug should be withdrawn immediately, Congress should hold hearings, and an Agent Orange-style treatment and compensation program should be set up, outside the reach of the CYA characters within the military and without who created this nightmare.

And of course it's not just mefloquine that's messing with soldiers' and veterans' heads. The military has poured tons of anti-depressants, dubious vaccines like anthrax, stay-awake pills and all sorts of other toxic gunk into the most medicated military ever. If they can't even bring themselves to face the clearcut consequences of mefloquine, they will never willingly look at what they've done in the broader field of military medicine.

Ditto on the whole issue of unsafe medicines across the board, in what we like to call the civilian world. Those include vaccines with toxic ingredients like mercury, multiple shots given too soon to infants, and on and on.

Unless an aggrieved citizenry gets up in arms and, through their elected representatives, demands accountability and action, this will never end.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


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Angus Files

Ex-head of the Army apologises to troops given anti-malaria drug Larium which left his son 'extremely depressed' but it is STILL being given to soldiers




"No one."

Present company excepted. Sorry I didn't make that clear. I get very upset when I think about the injustice.


And still no mention of the case of Robert Bales. Mr. Bales will now be serving life in prison after he volunteered for several tours overseas in service to his country where he was drugged by his country with a substance that caused him to become homicidal. And his country let him take the blame for the resulting deaths. No one who realizes the truth, and there has to be many, both within and outside of the service, will come forward to publicly defend Mr. Bales' honor and innocence. No one.


"Elite Army units to stop taking anti-malarial drug".

Everyone else can take it and risk homicidal mania and permanent brain damage.



I just read this:

"The top doctor for Green Berets and other elite Army commandos has told troops to immediately stop taking mefloquine, an anti-malaria drug found to cause permanent brain damage in rare cases.

The ban among special operations forces is the latest development in a long-running controversy over mefloquine. The drug was developed by the Army in the 1970s and has been taken by millions of travelers and people in the military over the years. As alternatives were developed, it fell out of favor as the front-line defense against malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that international health officials say kills roughly 600,000 people a year.

The new prohibition among special operations forces follows a July 29 safety announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that it had strengthened warnings about neurologic side effects associated with the drug. The FDA added a boxed warning to the drug label, the most serious kind of warning, saying neurologic side effects like dizziness, loss of balance and ringing in the ears may become permanent.

The drug's other side effects include anxiety, depression and hallucinations -- conditions that some military families over the years believe prompted psychotic behavior in their loved ones, including killings and suicides....The message also told commanders and medical workers to assess the possibility that some of their troops have been sickened by the drug but may mistakenly have been thought to be malingering or to have post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological problems."

Way to go, "moonie reporter"!

Cherry Sperlin Misra

To Jim Prietsch, Thankyou for your information. It is interesting to hear from one who has had first hand experience.


Agent Orange was denied as causitive for many many years...Coleen Boyle was at that time involved in prevalence counting and re-counting after the CDC reclassified the Viet Nam Veterans. This is the same pattern Coleen Boyle uses today with Autism prevelance counting and the new DSM5 reclassification. The only difference is Admiral Zumwalt's testimony to congress made a difference in changing the course of research studies on the effects of Agent Orange on the health of Veterans exposed. And spina bifida increase in children of exposed veterans was confirmed. So changes were made after Admiral Zumwalt's ass-kicking of the CDC. But the same players who protected Mansanto who created Agent Orange at the CDC are in charge of the vaccine-autism safety studies. This time Coleen Boyle has again been effective at protecting the industry over protecting our children. And this time the Congressional Autism hearings haven't produced Zumwalt results beause the industry has so much in place to hold the network of policies in place...from the 1986 Childhood Immunization Act that protects the industry from being sued, to the faulty body of evidence research done by fraud indicted CDC researcher, Poul Thorsen to the DoJ relying on that faulty body of research to decide how things go in the NVICP, to well, really, every branch of government knows but has turned its backs on the health of our children. We are but a small group of truth sayers willing to fight back against this enormous industry. The truth will come out, but as Orwell said "Truth is treason in an empire of lies." Just say no to drugs including those pushed by your pediatrician, the new drug pushers of society.

Jim Prietsch

To set the record straight for some readers of this article: Lariam is not a vaccine; it is a poison pill that kills the malaria virus that was first manufactured by the biologists at the Walter Reed Army Research Institute. These are the same doctors who, when asked what Lariam does inside the human brain, state: "we have no idea."
While it is a life-saving remedy for those who have contracted cerebral malaria, it should NEVER be prescribed/administered as a prophylaxis. I took it 13 years ago and still live with the permanent brain damage that it wreaked upon me.
And it should be brought to the attention of Sgt. Bales' family and attorney that one of Lariam's symptoms/results is uncontrollable rage. I, as a juror, would acquit him unconditionally.

IAngus Files

Well done Dr Stoller I wish more of you existed in the world..The army lads are just guinea pigs with no choice..very sad



Dr. Stoller,

I just went to your site and among the many resources there, I read your resignation letter from the AAP.

http://www.bodiesinrebellion.com/resignationletter.pdf .

Thank you for standing up to the corruption and for posting here.

david burd

jeannette bishop: You've hit a really big nail on the head when you indicted the obscene profits afforded Pharma who ram through patents that are then blindly blessed by an incompetent FDA and U.S. patent system. In fact, most Pharma's patents are given a special fast-track priority by the powers that be.

Patents have the allusion of benefit precisely because they ARE patented (i.e. "novel/original"), when in truth these drugs/vaccines have never had their horrific toxicities honestly assessed.

In a self-induced trance U.S. Medical Industry led by NIH and CDC have blindly promoted such as Lariam and the vaccines that bring lethal consequences (think SIDS/SUID deaths), and such as autism/asthma/bowel-destruction/etc.

Yes, the patent system (please note, Mark Blaxill) is the largest foundation block of a medical system that foists such insanity on an ignorant Public and the U.S. military. Without the obscene profit motive only made ONLY POSSIBLE by the U.S. patent system virtually none of the thousands of toxic drugs now on the market would exist, nor would most of the useless and deadly vaccines.

Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill are indeed American heroes; my only caveat is I wish Dan would also indict the aluminum compounds that are adjuvants in so many infant vaccine doses as many medical journal papers have long shown their extreme dangers.

Bob Moffitt

"The fact the military let Bales plead guilty and get a life term -- I mean, what is the death penalty FOR? -- suggests the Army might want the whole thing to blow over."

Anyone want to bet money the Colorado gunman also pleads "guilty" with leniency in sentencing the carrot for doing so? All his attorney's have to do is threaten to use his "medications" as an "excuse" for his outragous attack on completely innocent people attending a "Batman" movie.

I suspect the DA will then quickly .. and .. quietly .. acquiesce to a guilty plea .. thereby avoiding the possibility of critical information on adverse reactions of the drugs he was using from being publicly disclosed during the trial.

Paul Kemp

Thank you for the fine article exposing the Army's typical coverup of Melfloquine. I say typical because it sounds so similar to the previous atrocities done to our own soldiers with the Agent Orange fiasco and the Gulf War Syndrome, caused by a combination of vaccines, bug sprays, and whatever else.

I agree that Lariam/melfloquine is probably a bad vaccine, but what is missing here is the condemnation of the stupidity of the whole process of training men and women to kill, placing them under incredible stress, giving them amphetamines to go on missions and knock-out drugs to get them to sleep -- and being surprised when they blow up and go berserk and kill uncontrollably, whether in Afghanistan or in Detroit.

War is anything-goes, industrial-scale mass murder. It shouldn't be surprising that anyone who voluntarily subjects themself to an endeavor so futile, where they are forced by circumstance to kill children who make a move that may seem threatening, might later be tormented by their conscience.

I understand this is outside the scope of your article, but I think it needs to be said. None of these wars have accomplished anything positive -- indeed, they have made life here in the USA more dangerous and created more enemies abroad.

The forced exposure to melfloquine wouldn't have happened if the young man didn't volunteer to go kill in the Afghan nation. And what did all our killing accomplish? It transferred money for weapons into the hands of arms contractors and brought a lot of American youths home torn up in mind and body, but told they are heroes.

Thanks for the warning on Lariam. If I ever choose to go to some hell-hole where malaria is a threat, I will avoid the vaccine. I hope you will let my comment stand as a reminder of the bigger issues concerning the futility and un-Godly insanity of war, which is obviously also a major health hazard.


Hi Dan; and of course, these are also the people who likely had to take 3 shots of the anthrax vaccine; My husband reacted to his shot by having a weird skin rash; we eventually figured out after about 9 months that he was allergic to his own sweat.
Fast forward to the birth of our beloved , disabled son; a rare mutation, not present in either of his parents. The geneticist questioned us, pen in hand, about any toxins we might have been exposed to prior to or during the pregnancy. There was nothing else, but when we mentioned the anthrax vaccine and my husbands reaction, he put his pen down and refused to even write it in the chart.

Laura Hayes

Excellent article, Dan. So grateful that you are a true investigative reporter...definitely part of a dying breed. Thank you for all you do with regards to investigating, exposing cover-ups, bringing inconvenient truths to light, and focusing a huge part of your time and energy on the autism epidemic and the cause(s) behind it. What you personally have done through your book, "The Age of Autism," through this daily and information-packed blog, and through your extensive research and many articles, has truly changed the course of history. You have had the courage to go public with your findings as you have investigated autism, vaccines, mercury, pesticides, polio, Lariam, to name just some of the many important topics you have researched and reported on. You are an example of the power of one and you also remind me of a famous quote from Margaret Mead since you also collaborate and work with others:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

K P Stoller, MD

There is no drug or herb that can be given to 100% of the population without someone having serious problems. CYP3A4 is the liver enzyme responsible for the metabolism of Mefloquine.

CYP3A4 is the most abundant detoxifying enzyme in the liver, and is responsible for helping to break down perhaps 60% of all known drugs. It also has an important role in the breakdown of testosterone.

One of the best known consequences of interfering with CYP3A4 function comes from the consequences of drinking grapefruit juice while taking medications metabolized by CYP3A4. Grapefruit juice inhibits the action of CYP3A4, which results in a higher concentration of many drugs within the body. This can have both positive and negative medical consequences.

It is getting more an more inappropriate to give humans certain medicines or even herbs without knowing the status of their genetic polymorphisms, as the consequences of not doing so can be lethal.

In the military, all members of the armed forces are considered expandable assets, and they have been experimented on without mercy. The civilian population is also considered fair game for that matter.

KPStoller MD

Jeannette Bishop

It's pretty clear that providing any kind of "benefit" is now only the selling point, if it has ever been otherwise, and not the aim in our "healthcare" authoritative bodies. The objective is first and foremost to get pharmaceuticals, preferably the newest, costliest, most experimental, least proven ones, into as many bodies as possible while patents are in place and profits are high. And if these pharmaceuticals lead to excuse to use more costly, experimental drugs, that is certainly not a deterrent. Any move to address risk, apply regulation, and token compensation is to keep the illusion going for the majority, that these agencies are working to "protect" them, so they keep voting them the power to take from most of us, and generally benefit few of us.


Oh; I am so glad that this appeared in "Time Magazine" I would love to see a bunch of people pay for being willingly blind to what this drug has done to our service men. For heaven sakes - it even was written as a story for the popular TV show "Law and Justise". And they cover it correctly -- unlike the show they did about some kid dying from catching measles off of an unvaccinated kid.

I guess malaria from a distant country is not as scary to them as measles in the park.


Around in this area it is not uncommon that someone climbed a pole to steal electric wire, or climb into a substation to steal copper there. Of course they are killed. People are aggravated and the knee jerk response is - it serves them right.

Except that these guys are most probably in a mania - and in that type of mental illness thinks they can accomplish anything!

So it is Undiagnosed bipolar.
And it is all ever bit of it damage to the hypothalamus. Autism is just scratching the surface of this nation's festering puss filled vaccine induced wounds.

Bob Moffitt

Forbes magazine and CBS "60 Minutes" .. report 22 members of active and retired members of the military commit suicide EVERYDAY. Think about that .. "22 suicides A DAY".

How is that possible without SOMEONE at the very top of the military "chain of command" being held accountable for explaining WHY?

We ought not be surprised .. "the Army has put out lots of smoke, in the form of information that Bales was snorting Valium (didn't even know you could do that!), drinking contraband hooch and taking steroids."

Whenever a tragedy such as this occurs .. be it in a Colorado Theatre or a small village in Afghanistan .. the public is NEVER told what "prescription drugs or medication" the perpetrator was using .. or .. had recently stopped using. However, the public ALWAYS told what "illegal or mis-use of drugs" may have been found in that perpetrator's system .. such as .. "sorting Valium, drinking contraband hooch and taking steroids".

Whether the numbers are "1 in 50" for autism .. or .. "22 suicides a day" .. NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE.

We truly live in a world gone completely MADDDD.

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