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30 July 2013

The Effects of Lariam Presented (in Fiction and in Truth)

It is a sign of good research when fiction correctly reflects facts, facts being widely accepted truths, like in Ann Patchett's State of Wonder as the main character suffers the effects of Lariam which she ingested before travelling to Brazil to find out what happened to her pharma company colleague in the Amazonian jungles.  She also recalls in that vivid but illusive way of memory her childhood visits to India, and her dismay when she realizes that the hallucinations and feelings of dread as well as physical discomforts came from her mother feeding her Lariam for the trips, calling them her "India pills."  When Marina calls her mother on it, her mother told her they thought the risk of contracting malaria made the side effects worthwhile.  And, why was Marina still taking Lariam?  Wouldn't there be something better nowadays?  In effect, Marina's and science's answer was, no, not really; for all the possible strains of malaria, Lariam remained the best solution.  NPR's report on the latest FDA warning, though, somehow questions that "fact," and the wisdom of adults taking it, let along administering it to infants and toddlers who cannot verbally express how the side effects might be affecting them.  Obviously, even as a older child, Marina was not able to express herself enough to stop the "India pills" from coming. 

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