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The top doctor for the Army’s special operations command has ordered special forces units to stop taking the anti-malaria drug Mefloquine

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The move comes two months after the Food and Drug Administration issued their strongest warning to date, ordering manufacturers to put a black box label on the drug packaging to signal severe side effects. The drug, which protects against the sometimes fatal mosquito-borne virus that soldiers are exposed to while on deployments overseas, has been connected with neurologic disorders and side effects such as dizziness, and loss of balance, which may persist or become permanent. Among veterans, the drug has also been connected with anxiety, depression and hallucinations, some leading to violence and suicide.


The Surgeon General also asked Army officials to assess whether their troops had been sickened by the drug and had their symptoms misdiagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological problems.  

The ban against the drug comes as VA hospital have been put under scrutiny for over-medicating their patients, according to a recent investigation that found that the number of patients in the VAs system has risen by 29 percent while the number of prescriptions has risen by 259 percent.

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