Mefloquine and tafenoquine information
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) offers a range of support for current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who are concerned about having taken mefloquine (trade name Lariam®) or tafenoquine (trade names Kozenis® and Kodatef®).
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Mefloquine Health Assessments
Update! Anti-Malarial Health Assessment Program ceased from 1 July 2023
The Anti-Malarial Health Assessment program managed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) ceased from 1 July 2023, in line with the initial funding period.
Through the program, veterans who were concerned about taking anti-malarial medications Mefloquine and Tafenoquine during their ADF service were provided the opportunity to access a free health assessment from one of 12 GPs appointed to the program.
Participation rates over the course of the program have been low, and have been declining over time.
This is a positive indication that many veterans in the community who were concerned about having taken anti-malarial medication have already accessed the assessments, have been able to access support from alternative avenues, or are no longer concerned about having taken anti-malarial medication during service.
From 1 July 2023, any veteran with ongoing concerns about having taken Mefloquine and Tafenoquine and their health can continue to access a range of other support services, including a general GP check-up using their Veteran Card, the Veterans’ Health Check and support for mental health through Non-Liability-Health Care.Back to top
About Mefloquine and Tafenoquine
DVA recognises mefloquine and tafenoquine as being associated with several health conditions under the Statements of Principles (SoPs) system that applies to treatment and compensation claims.
For more information visit Malaria, mefloquine and the ADF.Back to top
The following support is also available, and will continue to be offered to any veteran with concerns about anti-malarial medications.
1800 MEFLOQUINE (1800 633 567)
DVA has a designated phone line — 1800 MEFLOQUINE (1800 633 567) — for veterans with enquiries, including available support.
Veterans can visit their GP for a general check-up free of charge using their Veteran Card.
The Veteran Card is used to pay for approved health treatment. Veterans should check their entitlements before the appointment.
If a veteran does not have a Veteran Card, they can apply through their MyService account. Visit www.dva.gov.au/myservice
Veterans’ Health Check
For a more comprehensive health assessment, the Veterans’ Health Check can be conducted by a veteran’s usual GP, to help them better understand their health and wellbeing. It is fully funded by DVA for eligible veterans.
The Veterans’ Health Check can help them manage and take charge of their own health, take action to stay well, address health concerns early and develop a relationship with their GP.
Veterans who have served one day in the ADF and transitioned out of the ADF from 1 July 2019 are eligible for an annual Veterans’ Health Check for up to five years after transition.
Veterans who have served one day in the ADF and transitioned out of the ADF at anytime before 30 June 2019 are eligible for a one-off Veterans’ Health Check.
For more information on the Veterans’ Health Check, visit www.dva.gov.au/veteranhealthcheck
Non-Liability Health Care (mental health)
For support for mental health, any veteran who has completed one day of full-time service in the ADF can access fully funded treatment of mental health conditions under Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC).
Mental health treatment through NLHC is also available to reserve members who have rendered border protection or disaster relief service, or who were involved in a serious service related training accident.
Mental health conditions do not need to be related to military service, and a claim for compensation is not required to access this treatment.
This treatment can be accessed for as long as it is needed, at no cost to the veteran.
More information is available on the DVA website: NLHC (mental health).
Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling
Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling also provides free, confidential, nationwide counselling and support for eligible current and former ADF members and their families and can be contacted 24/7 on 1800 011 046.
For general practitioners
Defence and DVA encourage general practitioners (GPs) to review Defence Joint Health Command’s Clinical Guidelines for providing appropriate care to ADF members concerned about having been prescribed mefloquine. While there is no specific way to diagnose the long-term effects of mefloquine and no specific treatment, other than to treat presenting symptoms, these guidelines outline a commonsense approach to the management of individuals who are concerned their current problems may be caused by mefloquine use in the ADF.Back to top
Current and former members of the ADF who have a diagnosed health condition that they believe relates to mefloquine or tafenoquine can lodge a claim with DVA.
When a claim is accepted, current and former ADF members can access treatment and rehabilitation support.
Access to mental health treatment is available immediately, when required, and is separate to DVA’s compensation process.
DVA assesses compensation claims under three pieces of legislation, two of which use Statements of Principles (SoPs). SoPs are legislative instruments that state factors that must exist to establish a connection between a health condition and military service.
An independent statutory authority, the Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA), determines the SoPs.
Further information on the Statement of Principles and the determinations of the Repatriation Medical Authority are available on our statement of principles page.
Together, mefloquine and tafenoquine are included as a potential causal factor in for 16 conditions.Back to top
Repatriation Medical Authority investigation and the Specialist Medical Review Council
The Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA) investigated mefloquine as a cause of panic disorder. It found that panic attacks resulting from medications belong under a diagnosis of ‘medication-induced anxiety disorder’ and are covered by a new factor in the anxiety disorder SoP. As such, there is no new factor relating to mefloquine in the panic disorder SoP.
The RMA investigated whether SoPs may be determined in respect of ‘chemically-acquired brain injury caused by mefloquine, tafenoquine and primaquine’. The RMA found that there is insufficient sound medical-scientific evidence that exposure to these pharmaceuticals causes acquired brain injury and, therefore, will not make SoPs in relation to this. The report is available via the RMA.
On 18 September 2018, the Specialist Medical Review Council (SMRC) completed its review of the RMA investigation and it confirmed the RMA’s decision. For further information visit SMRC Decisions.Back to top