Wagantall rails against Mefloquine

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Wagantall rails against Mefloquine

Post by Trooper on Tue 21 Nov 2017, 4:18 pm


NOVEMBER 21, 2017

The Member of Parliament for the Yorkton-Melville riding is pressuring the federal government is reevaluate its approach to a controversial medication so they can understand its impact on mental health.

Cathay Wagantall, the Deputy Critic for Veterans Affairs, is advocating against the use of Mefloquine, a drug used in the Canadian military to combat malaria.

“It’s done significant damage to our veterans,” she said.

Mefloquine has been used by armies around the world. It is administered to soldiers who will be active in areas with high-levels of malaria. However, studies have linked the medication to hallucinations, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Wagantall said Mefloquine has affected countless soldiers who return to civilian life. Veterans afflicted with Mefloquine symptoms are often misdiagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This misdiagnosis can result in drug prescriptions, which can react harmfully with veterans’ bodies.

Dave Bona is well-aware of the risks involved with Mefloquine. A veteran with the Canadian Armed Forces, Bona took Mefloquine when he was deployed in Somalia in the 1990s.

“I’ve been battling the long-term side effects for a quarter of a century,” he said. “[It’s] brain poisoning.

“It’s absolutely crazy.”

Bona, who lives near Saskatoon, has been fighting to raise awareness about Mefloquine’s dangers.

“People are becoming more aware, but the message still needs to get out,” he said.

Bona met Wagantall through her committee and he’s working with her to spread his message.

“She stepped up to the plate to assist us fighting...against Mefloquine,” he said.

Wagantall has been arguing against Mefloquine for over a year.

“I don’t see any benefits to this drug,” she said.

In June of this year, the Canadian Forces said they will no longer offer Mefloquine as a first option. Wagantall said this is a small step forward.

“It’s just the start,” she said. “The next goal would be to get the government to do a proper outreach program.”

Wagantall wants the federal government to find veterans who used Mefloquine and provide them with medical attention.

“Provide them with the care they need,” she said. “[The government] needs to be compassionate.”

In the future, Wagantall would like to see Mefloquine phased out completely.

“We want it off the market,” she said.




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